Weingut Dönnhoff

Weingut Dönnhoff is an estate in the Nahe region of the Rhineland, and is regarded as one of Germany's very best producers. It is famous for the high quality of its wines, which are made predominantly from Riesling. Dönnhoff is one of only three German estates to receive a 100-point rating from Robert Parker, for the 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2010 vintages of its Riesling Eiswein.

The estate is located at Oberhausen in the Riesling heartland of Nahe. There are around 20 hectares (50 acres) of vineyard, with a healthy proportion of Erste Lage sites. Some 80 percent of production is of the Riesling grape, which is planted on rocky, volcanic soils, giving the wines balanced acidity and intense minerality. The remainder of Dönnhoff's vineyards are devoted to Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. These are planted on more loamy, less stony soils, which retain more water through the summer.

Winemaking is simple at Dönnhoff, with whole-bunch pressing followed by 10-18 hours of settling, then fermentation in casks or stainless steel tanks. After resting on lees the wines are filtered in the March after vintage and are bottled a few months later. Around 10,000 cases are produced each year.

The Dönnhoff family has been making wine in this region since the 1750s. However, since Helmut Dönnhoff took over in 1971, the estate has been built up step-by-step from 4ha (10 acres) to its current size. Its reputation has increased in similar proportions. Helmut has been described as a "superstar" by Robert Parker and as having a "fanatical commitment to quality, and a remarkable natural talent for winemaking" by British wine writer Hugh Johnson.

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