2018 Weingut Donnhoff, Riesling “Estate” Nahe, Germany.
One of the world’s stellar values by one of the world’s great wineries, the Donnhoff Estate QbA Riesling, especially in a year like this 2018, is a beauty wine with amazing purity, mineral packed and generous details with just enough sweetness to refresh the palate, it is an excellent Summer white. Following Donnhoff closely for almost 20 years has given me time to full appraise and appreciate these wines, and now with Cornelius Donnhoff crafting these masterpieces from the Nahe this famous estate is even getting better! Cornelius, who took over from his father Helmut, is the 4th generation to run this historic winery and their amazing collection of Erste Lage, or grand cru vineyard sites that all have very distinct characteristics. Donnhoff has a steep set of vineyards with many different soils from volcanic to slate along with some gravel and loess-clay allowing Cornelius to produce an incredible range of wines from his majestic GG dry Rieslings to Eiswein in certain vintages and everything in between, and his entry level Estate bottlings come from these fantastic vines, with this slightly off dry lighter bodied Riesling having far more complexity and style than the price would suggest with an array of flavors and pleasures.
Cornelius has a unique cellar where he can either have all the wines in either wood cask or in stainless tank allowing him total flexibility to work with whatever the vintage offers and this Estate was fermented and aged mostly in stainless, but a small part was done in ancient large used German oak. The grapes came from a mix of vines including great sites like Oberhauser Felsenberg with its volcanic underpinning, plus Keselberg on weathered slate and Klamm with its own combination of weathered porphyry and slate as well as veins of quartzite, all which contributes to the class and nature of this Riesling. Brilliant pale golden in hue and utterly delicious with yellow peach, light tropical notes along with classic lime, green apple and apricot fruits along with flinty spices, mint and chamomile, quince paste, lemon peel and a touch of muskmelon. The mouth feel is crisp and mineral driven but also easy and with a creaminess of form from the lingering residual sugar, though the wines doesn’t taste overtly sweet, just finely balanced and high toned gaining exotic elements with air with hints of crystalized ginger and verbena coming out as it opens. This is so good, and while pretty widely available it usually sells out fast so stock up on it if you find it!
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive