The estate was established by Hermann Dönnhoff in the 1920s. Hermann's Grandson, Helmut Dönnhoff, current winemaker and owner, is responsible for the reputation these wines hold today. It is a true family operation, with Helmut and his wife Gaby's son Cornelius Dönnhoff, 4th generation, recently having taken over management duties. Their home and winery is located in the village of Oberhausen in Germany's Nahe region.
'There are many wonderful scores, but only a few people can interpret them well. Or it is like a chef: people have the same ingredients, but each chef brings another taste to them'. - Taken from an interview with Helmut Dönnhoff, The Wine Anorak.
Nahe sits between the Mosel and the Rheinhessen and is a region renowned for its Rieslings of high quality, expression and flinty minerality. The best Nahe wines show characteristics of the three surrounding regions (Mosel, Rheinhessen and Rheingau) and are elegant, racy and balanced. Dönnhoff are one of the top and most famed producers of the Nahe. Most of their vineyards are south facing and located around the river Nahe. Soils range from limestone and slate to sand and loam, as well as some volcanic soils. Some of Dönnhoff's most prized wines come from the villages of Schlossbockelheim and Neiderhausen but they are also building a reputation for the lesser known areas of Oberhausen and Norheim.
The Dönnhoff estate started with only a few hectares of vines but today encompasses 25 hectares. Plantings are mostly Riesling but also some Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc which can be found in the more loamy, sandy areas. The wines are whole bunch pressed to give the most delicate possible juice. Their dry wines are fermented in barrel with natural yeasts and botrytised sweet wines with cultivated yeasts to avoid unwelcome flavours or bacteria. The wines are matured for a short time in barrel, then moved to stainless steel where they spend time on the gross and fine lees to gain richness and complexity. Dönnhoff use a balanced approach of science and intuition in their winemaking, always tasting and letting the vintage and terroir dictate the styles produced. Their wines have excellent aging potential with the dry styles continuing to improve for up to and around ten years, and some of the premium wines developing for over twenty.
The level of acidity and complexity in these wines allows them to work with many foods. We recommend trying them with roasted veal, ewes milk cheeses, shellfish (raw or cooked) and artichokes (a notoriously difficult food item to pair wine with) but be adventurous - there are many options!