There are certain grapes synonymous with certain countries and often for good reason. As a grape Riesling can do well in different, generally cooler, parts of the world but it’s as rippling, powerful, fragile, muscular and breath-taking to behold as a wild horse when you get the best examples from Germany.
Dönnhoff 2010 Riesling 9.5% alc. Nahe, Germany Under $40.00
For decades now the wines of Helmut Dönnhoff have exemplified a pinnacle in German wine making and his name is as significant to the world of wine as that of Angelo Gaja or Giuseppe Quintarelli. So for the consumer the benefit is two-fold: they can enjoy the wines of a master but without the Gaja price-tag.
Increasingly his son Cornelius is taking hold of the wine maker reins and if the 2010’s are anything to go by the future is in equally talented hands.
2010 was a problematic vintage across Germany with plenty of rain around harvest and yields down by as much as 45% for some producers. Yet even those challenges will not entirely disable the best houses from making very good wine as Dönnhoff has proved.
This entry level Riesling has fruit from a variety of Dönnhoff properties but the overall effect suggests it was won from mature vines capable of substantial depth.
The nose is redolent of white flowers and peach with flavours of sea salt, gooseberry, lemon drop and apricot adding the transport away from your worries and leaving an umami zing. There’s good texture here providing a bit of chew and moderate weight in the mid-palate with a balancing acidity through to a long finish.
If you need to have it with food, it’s perfect with a salad of baby greens, avocado, supreme of grapefruit and partially seared tuna loin in a light soy-citrus dressing.
For those who long ago fell for this under-appreciated grape, they know that German Riesling is a lover of whom they never tire and a companion that they will always respect.