August 15th 2017
The 2016 vintage signature is one of balance, approachability, fresh acidity, and fine texture. A warm, dry end to the summer allowed the grapes to ripen gently through to harvest with little sign of botrytis. Consequently the drier styles (dry and kabinett) are the stars of the vintage, although we have included a single superb spätlese in our selection. The wines are charming in their youth, with racy, ripe freshness, but pleasingly their poised acidity will also allow them to age with grace.
Jancis Robinson describes 2016 as a vintage of “‘elegant balance’, the sort of balance that I find truly inspiring because it can be found in the most delicate of dry or off-dry wines as well as in richer, sweeter wines.” She also comments, “the Kabinetts stood out for their sheer, sometimes breathtaking, beauty.”
For anyone yet to make a significant foray into Germany, these wines, from one of the country’s finest producers, are the perfect start to your cellar. In terms of quality, Neal Martin has described Dönnhoff as, “to Nahe, what Domaine de la Romanée Conti is to the Côte D’Or”.
*All available for immediate delivery with the exception of Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spätlese, which is available from October 2017. Free UK delivery on orders over £300, otherwise £18
About the estate and the 2016 vintage
Quiet and immensely modest, Helmut Dönnhoff is one the best producers in all of Germany and his estate is one of the most famous outside of the Mosel valley. His family domaine dates from 1750 and is comprised of 20 hectares in the Nahe, a region located southeast of the Mosel, and now under the stewardship of Helmut’s son, Cornelius – a rising star in his own right.
In terms of quality, Neal Martin has described Dönnhoff as “to Nahe, what Domaine de la Romanée Conti is to the Côte D’Or”, and tasting through these 2016s, one cannot help but be reminded why German wines used to command the prices of first growth Bordeaux. Spellbinding and thought provoking, they are worth discovering.
After the dizzying heights of the 2015 vintage in Germany, we wondered how the 2016s would compare, especially given it was no easy growing season in the region, with a cool, wet spring.
Fortunately, the Nahe was blessed with a warm and dry late summer and autumn, and the fruit could ripen in tranquil, clement conditions. Unlike 2015, botrytis made itself scarce in 2016, and the strength of the vintage lies in its drier wines, Kabinetts and Spätleses. Where the 2015s were generous and fruity, the 2016s are refreshing, and as became abundantly clear during our tasting, outstandingly approachable in their youth whilst retaining the acidity to ensure a long future.
Tonschiefer Riesling Dry Slate 2016
£79.00 per 6 bts IB / £110.39 per 6 bts inc VAT / £18.40 per bt
Bone dry, and with a pure fruited and zesty scent. Excellent tension spans the palate in this zingy, quenching, and approachable style of vibrant dry Riesling. Really fantastic. Drink 2017 – 2020 Goedhuis & Co
Argillaceous schist sounds like a right mineral mouthful, but the Tonschiefer does not restrict itself to slaty austerity. Fleshy white peach and crunchy fruit peel enter into an inspired alliance with vibrant acidity to produce a cool and fresh expression that takes the sting out of trocken. 16.5 points Jancis Robinson
Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Riesling Dry 2016
£115.00 per 6 bts IB / £153.59 per 6 bts inc VAT / £25.60 per bt
Another dry expression of Nahe Riesling, but this time with a softer, more creamy volume than the spikier Tonschiefer. Peachy fruit on the nose follows through to the palate and lingers on a long and refreshing finish. Drink 2017 – 2022 Goedhuis & Co
An exhibition of aromatic diversity impresses the sensory perception. The Kahlenberg manages to deflect from its dry undercurrent with the juicy fruit of peach and lime, a subtle salty tang, piquant acidity and fine creamy texture. An itsy-bitsy smidgeon of residual sugar does the rest to soften the dry impact. 17 points Jancis Robinson
Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Kabinett 2016
£82.00 per 6 bts IB / £113.99 per 6 bts inc VAT / £19.00 per bt (*limited)
A jasmine-scented Kabinett of gorgeous concentration, and astoundingly easy to taste at this early stage. It showcases the lively dance of Riesling’s honey and lime character, where a touch of sweetness spars with racy, ripe acidity. This is a joy already, but should offer even greater rewards in years to come. Drink 2017 – 2024 Goedhuis & Co
Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 2016
£82.00 per 6 bts IB / £113.99 per 6 bts inc VAT / £19.00 per bt
Clean and fresh expression of floral and fruity components flatters the olfactory perception. An alluring composition of peach, grapefruit and lime strokes the palate with gentle sweet fruit, the acidity causes a fine tingling sensation, and finally the taste buds surrender to the temptation of a delightfully creamy texture. Drink 2017-2023 16.5 points Jancis Robinson
Oberhauser Brucke Spätlese 2016 *Available for delivery from October 2017
£172.00 per 6 IB / £221.99 per 6 inc VAT | £37.00 per bt
A Dönnhoff monopole, lying just next to the Nahe river banks, particularly noted for its Spätlese and Auslese wines. The morning mists which rise off the river contribute to the complex array of sweet flavours displayed in the vineyard’s fruit: pineapple, peach, white flowers. It has a restrained power, and an expressive palette of flavours. Drink 2018 – 2028 Goedhuis & Co
Fine floral notes mingle with aromas of white fruit and dusty mineral notions, a delicate scent of forest honey whispering promises of sweet delight. The palate is seduced by the soft expression of a ripe, juicy cocktail of melon, peach and nectarine, pink grapefruit and mandarin delivering zest and vibrancy, the generous sweetness of all this fruit well balanced by the freshness of the lively acidity and a stony mineral accent. 17.5 points Jancis Robinson