2017 Dönnhoff: frosty start; happy ending

5 Feb 2019

2017, a perfect crop

'Cornelius Dönnhoff has made an absolutely stellar collection of 2017ers, with the vintage equally strong in the wider array of dry bottlings in the lineup this year and for the noble sweet wines, which are truly exceptional as they climb from Kabinett to Spätlese to Auslese Goldkapsel... The 2017 vintage at Weingut Dönnhoff delivers and it is a great, great vintage for this iconic Nahe estate!' - John Gilman, View from the Cellar, Issue 75

I can't think that Dönnhoff needs much introduction round these parts. Since they are consistently one of Germany's best producers we take the quality and excitement in their Rieslings completely for granted. In 2017 they lost nearly half of production to frost and other early season problems. Indeed, these wines are in such short supply, and yet so good, it's almost cruel to offer them.

Cornelius and his wife have been running the business since 2011, when Helmut nominally retired, though he is still extremely active. They have a family Bible going back 250 years showing the names of all the children as they were born. They've been recorded farmers in the area for all that time. Until the 1930s the land use was much more mixed and there was little private viticulture. The state domaine was dominant and the workers there were the kings of the area.

The Dönnhoffs were one of the first families to estate bottle after the war and they also focused on buying the steepest vineyards that hardly anyone wanted to work. That strategy has paid off hugely with the estate comprising a collection of stellar sites. In 2017, as I tasted on last year's visit, the Dönnhoff family has given us a set of wines which, from 'basic' estate Riesling all the way up to Grosses Gewachs in the dry style and noble rot sweeties, is pretty unbeatable. At each level - be it dry, kabinett, spätlese, and up to the noble rot styles - everything was clean. If only there were more bottles of the stuff. /CW

Offered subject to remaining unsold; available immediately

Vintage Description Cs Sz Bt Sz Cs Bts Cs ib Cs inc Bt inc
2017 drink or keep Donnhoff Tonschiefer Dry Slate Riesling
6x 75cl 2 2 £81.00 £113.27 £21.00 Buy
2017 drink or keep Donnhoff Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Dry
6x 75cl 1 5 £114.00 £152.87 £28.95 Buy
2017 drink or keep Donnhoff Spatlese Norheimer Kirschheck
6x 75cl 4 5 £114.00 £152.87 £29.95 Buy
2017 drink or keep Donnhoff Spatlese Oberhauser Brucke
6x 75cl 2 5 £150.00 £196.07 £38.95 Buy