Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Auslese Goldkapsel (375 half-bottle) 2017
Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel – Grand dessert wine – tropical fruits balanced to perfection against a glorious mineral acidity. For over 100 years, the Hermannshöhle has been revered as the Nahe‘s top-ranked site and the benchmark by which all other vineyards in the region are judged. It takes its name from a small mine, or “Höhle”, in the middle of the hillside. “Hermann” is derived from Hermes, the Roman god of messengers and travelers, and the name likely hints at an ancient place of worship once located here. This site faces due south and lies 130 –175 m above sea level. Its soils are primarily blackish gray slate mixed with extrusive igneous rock, porphyry and limestone. For generations, this marvelous site has shaped expectations for what fine wines from the Nahe can achieve.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Some truths are hard to believe and this is one of them; it won’t let you go, so there's no way of denying the excellence of this filigree masterpiece. Almost endless finish that simply could not contain any more mineral freshness. From organically grown grapes. Fair'n Green certification. Drink or hold. Very limited production.
Although the Nahe is a dry region, Dönnhoff does not water their vineyards as to encourage deep rooted vines. The soil is covered with organic material like straw and compost to preserve water and to avoid evaporation and erosion in heavy rains. The vines are all grown on wire frames, low to the ground to benefit from the warmth of the stoney topsoil, and at a density of approx. 6000 vines per hectare. The Riesling vines are old clones sourced from the sites in Niederhausen and Schlobbockelheim.
A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the Glass
Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.
Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.
It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.