The weather is pretty grey while we drive along the river Nahe. It’s one of the first days of January. The sky is cloudy, raindrops are falling. No other car is driving with us. The Nahe is very different from the Rhine valley or the Moselle valley. Hardly any tourists. Only beautiful nature. In winter, it means that you can be alone on the streets. Silence can be a great thing.
Everything fits: The nature. A region that feels down to earth. And a winemaker that is very focused on this nature and the unbelievable geology and needs of his vineyards.
The Nahe region is a geological myth. Almost every mineral is available in the different areas: Volcanic stones like melaphyre and porphyre, different sorts of slate, added with carbon, clay, limestone, loess and loam. Sometimes only some meters apart. A gift and a challenge for every winemaker.
Cornelius Dönnhoff’s very personal journey to becoming the winemaker he is, was a very interesting one. Learning not only from his father, but also from going back and forth between Germany, Australia and New Zealand has formed this man. Two other winemaking legends – Joachim Heger from winery Dr. Heger and Jeffrey Grosset from Grosset Wines in Clare Valley, Australia – shared their knowledge.
That helped. Because, the shoes in which Cornelius is walking couldn’t hardly be any bigger: His father Helmut Dönnhoff is considered a god of white wine, one of the top five white wine makers around the world. He made the winery internationally successful. Nine „Grosse Lagen“ vineyards are part of the winery – with the Hermannshöhle, Felsenberg and Oberhäuser Brücke as the most famous ones. People all over the world know Dönnhoff wines because of their amazing quality.
You learn to understand how Dönnhoff achieves this by listening to his philosophy. “The harvested grapes are our 100 percent”, says Cornelius. “After the second we take them of the vines they are not supplied by the plant anymore – that means quality goes down.”
After a maximum time of four hours after taking the grapes off, they are pressed. Fermentation is done quick and precise. And very clean. They really want to bring everything the grape offers into the bottle. And they truly manage to do that. The result: extremely puristic, clean and straight Rieslings. Fantastic wines.
Just sitting in the tasting room with some of the 2017s on the table leaves you breathless: Super elegant, clean like an iced waterfall, precise in their fruit notes and minerality. An amazing collection that makes Riesling lover’s hearts beat faster. Looking at the prices, underpriced is the first word that comes to our minds. Basically every wine in this collection is worth double the actual price.
Take the time to check some of our tasting notes on the 2017 collection!
Visit website of winemaker Doennhoff