In the early 20th century Hermann Dönnhoff laid the foundations of the modern estate by concentrating on Riesling from top sites and by selling the wines in bottle during the 1920s under the names of the sites. His son Hermann Jr bought the Oberhäuser Brücke site and built the first cellars and press house in 1936. Hermann Jr's son, Helmut, took over in 1971 and achieved international success with his wines, which he modestly attributes to the quality of the sites he inherited. His son Cornelius took over full responsibility in 2007, with his father still around to help. The estate now consists of 28 hectares, 80% Riesling with the balance in Pinot Blanc and Gris grown on sandstone, volcanic soils and weathered slate. Fermentation is in a mixture of oak casks and stainless steel. The best sites are around Oberhausen, Schlossböckelheim and Niederhausen. The wines are rich and complex with a wonderful concentration of flavours.
Sourced from the Leistenberg vineayrd, this is a southeast facing site planted on grey slate. It captures more sun rather than afternoon heat so is delicate and aromatic and typically produces the estates Kabinett wines. A majestic vintage for Donnhoff. The sloping vineyards of the Leistenberg are characterised predominantly by clay slate soils. This dry, blackish-grey slate is perfect for producing superbly elegant wines. The characterful dry Riesling wines from these soils are therefore named after this ancient rock. Tonschiefer translates as clay slate. Fermented and matured in stainless steel vats and large oak barrels. Full-bodied, mineral Riesling wine with a fruit nose of great finesse and classic acidity.
An initial delicate smoky stoniness drifts up from the glass like morning fog on the Nahe river. Apple and apricot with hints of freshly grated lime and lemon balm and wake-me-up-before-you-go-go acid. Nimble fruit expression, quiet grip and tremendous tension. Continued citrus zest on the long finish. (PS) Drink 2022– 2028. Score 17. Jancis Robinson.com