Germany 2009 – Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff

Published by Sally on July 5, 2010

Vintage 2009 is a startlingly super riesling vintage, if a recent tasting of wines in Germany is anything to go by.

A combination of ripeness with retained, relatively high acidity are cited as the defining parameters of the 2009 in the main riesling regions of Mosel, Rheingau, Nahe, Pfalz and the Rheinhessen. This was defined as a year of long ripening and good structure. But volumes are down across the board.

Some have said 2009 is as good as 2007. By comparison 2008 was not so warm, on average.  There is enough ripeness in 2008 but the acidity is crispier and more pronounced. The wines are perhaps less concentrated than the 2009s.

See future posts for Riesling 2009 tasting notes from Gunderloch, Leitz, Dr. Loosen and JL Wolf.  

Weingut Hermann Dönnhoff is located in Oberhausen, in the Nahe.  

Hermannshöhle vineyard

Hermannshöhle vineyard

The Nahe accounts for about 4% of the German vineyard area.  It is south of the Mosel, south of the Hunsrück mountains, which protect the Nahe valley from the winds.

Owner Helmut Dönnhoff described his style as “elegant, not too opulent, in between the Mosel and the Rheingau.  Mosel has higher acidity, ours are a bit riper with lower acidity.”

The estate is 120m ASL, and grapes can be grown up to about 350m, above which, Dönnhoff said, they don’t ripen.

About 65% of Dönnhoff’s 12.5 hectare production is for dry wine, the rest is in the Germanic fruity styles.

Riesling accounts for 80% of his production; the rest is pinot blanc and pinot gris.

Read here for a review of the 2009 rieslings from JL Wolf in the Pfalz.

Read here for a review of the 2009 rieslings from Gunderloch in Rheinhessen.

Tasting notes, in situ, April 2010.

Riesling trocken 2009 
(dry style) 11.5% 6.8g/l RS.
Citrus zest, perceptibly dry, with a hint of integral, defining taut/salty edge. Fresh, balanced weight and good length.

Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken 2009  
(dry style) 12%.  6-7g/l RS.
Spicy with good volume of tropical fruit and citrus pith. Nice freshness-richness balance. Pure, intense, balanced.

2009 Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg
(dry style) 12.5%. 7g/l RS. Volcanic, porphyry – hard stone that keeps heat.
Slate, steel, pristine savouriness. Grapefruit zest, tight, linear. Serious, a bit intellectual. Complex and layered. Taut. Very good. Pristine and delicious.

Dellchen 2009 Riesling Grosses Gewächs
(dry style) 13%, 7.5% RS.  Slate, with volcanic soils
Allspice, star anise, apricot, intense, big, big wine. Rich and powerful with exquisite balance and intensity.

Felsenberg Felsenturmchen 2009 Riesling Grosses Gewächs
(dry style) 13%. volcanic soil Felsenturmchen meaning little tower
Firestone, tropical. Savoury, aromatic tar, lush and plush, strong, dry-rich, big and elegant at same time. Excellent.

Hermannshöhle 2009 Riesling Grosses Gewächs
(dry style) Rich, fat, tropical, open fruit attack, savoury firestone comes through on palate. Opulent and taut at the same time. Lush and lean, linear. Tightly wound. Aromatic tar. Long. Spectacular.

Riesling 2009
(fruity style) 11%. ~19 g/l RS.
Citrus, grapefruit nose, fresh and simply pure, with nervy acidity and good flavour depth; very easy to drink e.g. sitting in the garden of an early evening.  Pure pleasure.

Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl 2009, Riesling Kabinett
(fruity style) 10%. 25-30g/l RS, ~8g/l TA. Quartz. Pebbles, meaning ‘pond frog’
White peach and nectarine, fresh, light and with nice intensity of fresh fruit, charming rather than complex at the moment, needs a bit of time to flesh up and complex.

Oberhäuser Leistenberg 2009, Riesling Kabinett
(fruity style) 9%. 35-40 g/l RS. 8g/l+ TA.~£20 slate soil. Comes from same site as Tonschieffer.  Leisten: dialect for slate. Slate hill.
Citrus and lime, sweet-lime attack, apple blossom, pure, high on easy deliciousness. Open and fruity, lots of flavour.  

Norheimer Kirschheck 2009, Riesling spätlese
(fruity style) 8.5%. ~60g/l RS.  ‘cherry hedge’. Slate soil.
Firestone and cinnamon-spiced apricots, some fullness of body with sweet fruit compote concentration. Precision acidity. Fruity lushness. Long.  Seductive sweetness and elegance.

Felsenberg 2009, Riesling spätlese
(fruity style) A selection from the GG Felsenturmchen. Volcanic soil. 
No analysis yet: probably about 8.5%, and about 70g/l RS.
Cask sample tasting: sweet apricot compote, honeyed, precision acidity. Elegant, light-intense.  Allspice silhouette. Very good. Long. Exquisite balance.

Oberhäuser Brücke 2009, Riesling spätlese
(fruity style) 8%  Slate under alluvial sediments, pebbles, sandstone.
‘Aromatic tar’ note; savoury firestone, apricot purée, dense, intense; big flavour expansion in the mouth. Stony, savoury notes diminish the perception of sweetness, lush, mouth-watering. Focused and expansive. Cracking balance. Opulent and fleshy, nervosity of acidity. Just lovely.

Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle 2009, Riesling spatlese
(fruity style) 8.5%
Lime and pink grapefruit nose, steely nose, and apricot.  Lush, almost tropical, with refined acid core and laser-precision, layers evolve in the mouth, sweet/steel balance. Very good.

Oberhauser Brucke 2009. riesling auslese goldkapsel
(fruity style) Cask sample tasting: lime and hint of mushroom-spice, complexing and structuring botrytis. Overtly sweet now, with defining acidity and freshness and balance.

Niederhäuser hermannshöhle 2009 riesling auslese goldkapsel
(fruity style) Apricot puree nose, aromatic spice, firestone, intense, dense, appears less overtly sweet, and with immense extract. Enormous wine, refreshing, allspice and star anise. Honeyed, and lush. Really very nice indeed.

The UK agents, ABS Wine Agencies, flew me, and a group of UK importers, to Germany to taste the 2009s from the producers they represent.

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