This Article Contains
Cornelius Dönnhoff, the man in charge, along with father Helmut Dönnhoff, who elevated the winery to greatness, Anna, Cornelius’s wife who does everything else. Plus a large team of family and friends from around the world.
Rieslings and Burgundy varietals that reflect the intensity and ageability of the varied terroir from their envious collection of Grosse Lage vineyards in the heart of the Nahe.
- Defined as very cold winters, hot, short, fairly rainy summers, with long, cool, dry autumns.
- Until climate change this was the very northern edge of where grapes could ripen fully, but only about 7 out of 10 years.
- Now: winters are usually not as cold, summers are much hotter, drought is a serious problem 4 or the last 5 years, and autumns start later and are often much wetter than they used to be.
- The unpredictability of the weather is what makes wines especially vintage sensitive and creates havoc (and high costs!) for winemakers.
- Nahe is a little warmer on average than the Mosel and cooler than most of the other wine regions in Germany. There are some very warm vineyard sites, giving an almost mediterranean feel, but also with a few cooler, almost Saar-like areas as well.
- Cool climate wines are high in acid, low in alcohol, light in body, and often show a lot of mineral flavors rather than fruit.
- Usually white wines are made, but some light reds, like Pinot Noir can also ripen well.
- Warmer vintages: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2015 produce wines with lower acidity, higher alcohols, and richer fruit flavors.
- Cooler vintages: 2021, 2013, 2010, 2008 produce what are now considered “classic” cool-climate wines
- 2022 is an enigma. It was hot and very dry for most of the growing season, but rain and long cold fall ended up giving us wines that taste more like “classic” cool-climate wines than rich, ripe wines.
28 hectares from 9 Grosse Lage (Grand Cru vineyards), across 6 villages.
- Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle: The top rated Grand Cru site in the Nahe for over 100 years. Blackish grey slate mixed with extrusive igneous rock, porphyry and limestone. Due south facing, 40 – 60 % slope with vines up to 65 years old. Even on this hot site, its regal vibes just equal wines that layer up with incredible intensity, they are still balanced, and ageworthy. Put these in the cellar for at least 10 years. An absolute treasure of a hillside.
- Niederhäuser Klamm: Grand Cru site, volcanic porphyry and decomposed black slate. A very stony almost-extension of the Hermannshöhle and one of the steepest in the Nahe, up to 70%. The Kabinett from here is like laser beams and rocks.
- Oberhäuser Brücke: A tiny, 1.1 ha monopole Grand Cru site, slate, porphyry, sandstone, loam. A low lying vineyard along a river. It's a warm humid site, meaning early flowering and late ripening, often with botrytis and a good spot for eiswein in capable years. With the loam soils and river adjacent it can do great even in the driest years. The wines tend to be wild and exotic, with a firework display of complex flavors.
- Oberhäuser Leistenberg: Grand Cru site, with lots of decomposed slate. A steep 30 – 60 % sloped site with terraces. It’s south east exposure means good morning sunshine, but a less direct exposure in the afternoon, for lighter, brighter, more lifted wines.
- Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg: Grand Cru site, porphyry soils. From the coldest site in the Nahe with slopes at a 50 – 60 % gradient. Wines have much more cut, are leaner and sharper. The volcanic soil gives them a very flinty minerality.
- Norheimer Kirschheck: Grand Cru site, slate, sandstone, due south facing with a 25 – 45% gradient. A great home for Spätlese as the wines reach adequate ripeness nearly every year and the sandstone gives an intense Nahe-peach note.
- Norheimer Dellchen: Grand Cru site, slate, porphyry. Very steep, 50 – 70 % gradient slope with terraces. Although it faces due south, it is in a dell, or a little dip in the hill and finds itself in the shade both early and late in the day, greatly extending its ripening period. A personal favorite of mine, where the volcanic soils and very long hangtime give a special edge and layer of minerality. Concentrated and taut at the same time.
- Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl: Grand Cru site, löss, loam, gravelly quartzite. A gently sloping, south facing, vineyard in the north of the Nahe, where it is actually warmer than to the south. Vines have more access to water thanks to the loam subsoils. A place for slightly richer Kabinetts with tons of yummy, yummy Nahe peach flavors.
- Kreuznacher Kahlenberg: top rated Grand Cru in the Bad Kreuznach, gravelly loam. South facing warm site.
- Roxheimer Höllenpfad: Grand Cru site, red sandstone
- The King of White Grapes.
- High acid, semi aromatic
- A huge variation in style potential from very light and dry, sparkling to the most unctuously sweet wines on the planet.
- Divisive for its high acidity and sugar retaining capabilities
- Perfect in its dynamic nature, ability to transmit the slightest nuance of terroir and being capable of aging for hundreds of years.
- 20% Pinot Blanc / Weissburgunder
- A white skinned mutation of Pinot Noir
- The secret weapon of the Teutonics. They make the best versions of this grape, and they don’t share them.
- Germany is now the world’s leading producer of Pinot Blanc
- pale to straw yellow in color, and delicate on the nose. A slightly nutlike aroma is typical. Vinified dry, its medium to full body and fine acidity complement many types of food.
- Good examples age very well, although generally made with the aim of everyday fresh and dry wines in mind. Even these seemingly innocuous wines have the ability to age over decades..
- 20% Pinot Gris / Grau Burgunder
- A pink-skinned genetic mutation of Pinot Noir.
- Likely introduced from across the border in nearby Alsace by Cistercian monks.
- Takes on many styles in Germany.
- The country is the world’s third-largest producer of the grape.
- Typically dry and can range from light and fresh to rich and oak-aged.
- Most of the time, these wines are more concentrated and flavorful than Pinot Grigio of Italy, with notes of apple, pear, and nuts.
- Because of its pink skins, Pinot Gris also makes delicious orange wines.
Plus a small amount of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
- Dry farmed, but hand watered in severe drought years like 2022
- No herbicides
- No pesticides
Modern & Traditional
- Spontaneous fermentations
- Fermentation and maturation in classic wooden barrels of German oak and stainless steel vats
- Cellar is large enough to hold an entire harvest in either stainless steel or barrel depending on what the vintage requires.
If you love Riesling, you know the name Dönnhoff. If you don't love Riesling—yet—Dönnhoff will teach you why the grape inspires such passion. They are one of the greatest estates in the Nahe which also makes them one of the best in all of Germany.
The family has had four generations to dive deep into their terroir and perfect their winemaking. Their top wines are long-lived and collectible. That terroir is, of course, key. The Nahe has the most varied soils (including, especially, different kinds of volcanic soil) of any German region, as well as a climate that ranges from very cold high-elevation sites to pockets of Mediterranean warmth. This gives Dönnhoff a painter’s palette of flavors and textures from which to craft a perfect wine.
Intensely flavored, well structured, built to last for decades in the cellar. Even the screw caps are intended for 10+ years. The fruit is always flourishing, without being overwrought, what I consider the quintessential Nahe, sun-kissed, just ripe yellow peach flavor. But each bottling has a minerality reflective of its place, whether volcanic soils in a shaded spot, or loam on a south facing gentle slope.
Dönnhoff, Chardonnay S, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $48.99 $43.11
Dönnhoff, Grauburgunder S, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $44.99 $39.59
Dönnhoff, Grauburgunder Trocken, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $30.99 $27.27
Dönnhoff, Riesling Brut Nature, 2018 ( 3-btl min.) $54.99 $48.39
Dönnhoff, Riesling Dellchen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $98.99 $87.11
Dönnhoff, Riesling Dellchen Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $190.00 $167.20
😀 Silkier, white to yellow peaches, flint, a bit of smoke pit, truly lovely acid, the way it tingles the tongue with such soif texture. A very long, long finish, this is showing so beautifully. Volcanic vineyard with lots of terraces and slate. This is always one of my favorite wines in the lineup, it gets a bit of protection from all day sun, though its south facing, it is in a bit of a dip. It means perfectly ripe fruit and ripping acidity.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Estate, 2022 $25.99 $22.87
Dönnhoff, Riesling Estate, 2022 (1.5L) $69.99 $61.59
😀Best fruit juice ever. A peach spritzer, happiness in a bottle, if you don't like it you're wrong. Lip Smacking delicious!!!
Dönnhoff, Riesling Estate Trocken, 2022 $25.99 $22.87
Dönnhoff, Riesling Estate Trocken, 2022 (1.5L) $69.99 $61.59
Easy, crisp, fresh peaches, yellow apples, salt, steely, moderate plus acidity, good inexpensive wine. Mostly volcanic vineyards with a hint of flint. 11.5% abv
Dönnhoff, Riesling Felsenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $94.99 $83.59
Dönnhoff, Riesling Felsenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Dönnhoff, Riesling Felsenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (3L) $380.00 $334.40
★ Roots go down 4 meters deep till they hit volcanic bedrock. Juicy, smoky, spicy, elegant, flint, ash. Like black glitter - deep and dark but sparkly at the same time. Really great texture, chewy, power under the hood, but not dense, grilled lemons.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $104.99 $92.39
Dönnhoff, Riesling Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $200.00 $176.00
Dönnhoff, Riesling Hermannshöhle Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (6L) $1000.00 $880.00
★★★★ This wine just bores its way into your skull with high intensity laser beams of acid and flavor concentration. So young and so far to go, yet already so right. Lemon to peach, salty herbs, smoky slate, mineral up the wahzoo. Everything is just more in this wine. 11 really is louder than 10, (barrel sample)
Dönnhoff, Riesling Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 $84.99 $74.79
Dönnhoff, Riesling Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (1.5L) $160.00 $140.80
Dönnhoff, Riesling Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg Grosses Gewächs, 2022 (3L) $380.00 $334.40
Almost sweet, rich and baroque. Deep peach, like it's been distilled, and so distinctly Nahe, balanced with lemon, acid, spice, red pepper, strawberry, a whiff of muscat, anise, effusive, slurpable. From the best piece of the vineyard.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Trocken, 2022 $41.99 $36.95
Dönnhoff, Riesling Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Trocken, 2022 (1.5L) $109.99 $96.79
“Filigreed and ripe stone fruit, young pineapple, orange blossom. An elegant mineral concentration carries the broad and citrus-laced palate. Deep and refined saline precision that is beautiful now and for many years to come. 17.5 pts” -- Paula Sidore, JancisRobinson.com
Dönnhoff, Riesling Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl Kabinett, 2022 $30.99 $27.27
Yummy peach syrup, dastardly delicious fruit, a bit heavy for my taste, but a long finish makes me think it just needs a bit of time in the bottle to shed the baby fat. 50 g/l of residual sugar.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Auslese Goldkapsel, 2022 $123.99 $109.11
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Auslese Goldkapsel, 2022 (375ml) $64.99 $57.19
Hiding on the nose right now, but it's so young. An Archangel of Auslese with its regal power, lift, really something else, acid feels a little lower in relation to the sugar, but in five years I don’t think that will be an issue.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese, 2022 $65.99 $58.07
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese, 2022 (1.5L) $159.99 $140.79
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese, 2022 (3L) $300.00 $264.00
★★★ Woah, again the intensity from this vineyard is out of this world. First ripe yellow and red fruit pops out, but then is pulled back to citrus and all the minerality. It's very sure of itself, regal, ready to go, very, very mineral, unctuous without being too heavy, certainly lighter than the Oberhäuser Brücke, brighter, fresher, more serious and structured in a perfectly built frame.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Klamm Kabinett, 2022 $30.99 $27.27
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Klamm Kabinett, 2022 (1.5L) $79.99 $70.39
“Floral aromas of lemongrass and orange blossom linger into warm stone fruit and ripe citrus notes. More svelte and juicy – and appealingly playful – than the Leistenberg this vintage, with a relaxed and balanced sweetness. Refreshing acidity and beautiful stony spice on the lingering, dry finish. 17+ pts” -- Paula Sidore, JancisRobinson.com
Dönnhoff, Riesling Niederhäuser Trocken, 2022 $39.99 $35.19
Dönnhoff, Riesling Norheimer Kirschheck Spätlese, 2022 $39.99 $35.19
Do not spit this wine. Grilled peaches, cherry juice, lifted, levitating structure, like it's crafted from toothpicks.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Oberhäuser Brücke Auslese Goldkapsel, 2022 $109.99 $96.79
Dönnhoff, Riesling Oberhäuser Brücke Auslese Goldkapsel, 2022 (375ml) $56.99 $50.15
Back to the tropical paradise of spicy peppers, fruit punch, even more dense, rich, still there is a lacy lemon acid core, and very long finish. So silky, juicy, mouthwatering. Not a lot of botrytis and Auslese, just not what the vintage brought, but as complex as you’d expect.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Oberhäuser Brücke Spätlese, 2022 $58.99 $51.91
Dönnhoff, Riesling Oberhäuser Brücke Spätlese, 2022 (1.5L) $139.99 $123.19
Brucke is the bridge that you cross over to get to this tiny, 1.1 ha vineyard. 75 g/l of residual sugar. Holy moly this is intense. Saffron, lemons, richer, deeper - it just goes on and on across your palate, not to even mention the finish. Tropical punch, less heavy than you would expect for so much ripe fruit. A really special vineyard.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Oberhäuser Leistenberg Kabinett, 2022 $30.99 $27.27
“Smoky notes of lemon balm and apricot, cool and remarkably refined. Playful acidity propels the chiselled sweetness across a sleek and dancing palate. Sophisticated and lingering spicy finish. 16.5 pts” -- Paula Sidore, JancisRobinson.com
Dönnhoff, Riesling Roxheimer Höllenpfad Trocken, 2022 $44.99 $39.59
Dönnhoff, Riesling Roxheimer Höllenpfad Trocken, 2022 (1.5L) $113.99 $100.31
Soft, silky, juicy yellow fruit, spicy kick, baked cinnamon pie. Vineyard means “way to hell”, you can feel it in the spicy aspect of the wine.
Dönnhoff, Riesling Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg R Spätlese, 2018 $59.99 $52.79
Dönnhoff, Riesling Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg R Spätlese, 2018 (1.5L) $135.99 $119.67
“Just released. Kept back as a Schatzkammer wine, as it did not make the Grosses Gewächs cut but was too good for Kabinett. RS 65 g/l. Fumy/herbal nose, with a sulphidic mineral character. On the palate, however, intense, fresh apricot and clementine fruit. The freshness trumps the sweetness on the finish. So youthful. Juicy citrus aftertaste. 17 pts”” -- Julia Harding, MW, JancisRobinson.com
Dönnhoff, Riesling Schlossböckelheimer Trocken, 2022 $39.99 $35.19
Dönnhoff, Riesling Tonschiefer Trocken, 2022 $32.99 $29.03
Dönnhoff, Riesling Tonschiefer Trocken, 2022 (1.5L) $83.99 $73.91
“Delicate and cool aromas of green apple, apricot and mandarin. Vibrant acidity holds ripe fruit in one hand and wet crushed stone in the other. Finely textured and already quite appealing. 16.5 pts” -- Paula Sidore, JancisRobinson.com
Dönnhoff, Sauvignon Blanc [Black and White Label], 2021 ( 3-btl min.) $42.99 $37.83
Dönnhoff, Weissburgunder & Chardonnay Stückfass, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $36.99 $32.55
Dönnhoff, Weissburgunder & Grauburgunder Doppelstück, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $36.99 $32.55
Dönnhoff, Weissburgunder S, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $44.99 $39.59
Dönnhoff, Weissburgunder Trocken, 2022 ( 3-btl min.) $30.99 $27.27