Brilliant Equilibrium-2013 Donnhoff: Hermannshohle, Brucke, Leistenberg

Posted by Joe Salamone

Brilliant Equilibrium
2013 Dönnhoff:
Leistenberg Kabinett
Brücke Spätlese
Hermannshöhle Spätlese

"The entire range of 2013ers from Weingut Dönnhoff are outstanding this year..." -John Gilman

Dönnhoff seems to have hit a magical combination in 2013 for his sweet wines. The vintage gave the wines a snap and substance that's really beautiful.

Of course, Dönnhoff has supplied us with no shortage of impressive collections. Few estates in Germany have enjoyed a reign at the top like Dönnhoff. 2013 represents another jewel in the crown.

Today, I'm happy to kick off our 2013 Germany offers with a trio from Dönnhoff's stunning collection with Leistenberg Kabinett, Brücke Spätlese and Hermannshöhle Spätlese.

The Dönnhoff 2013 represents blazing acidity married to high extracts and modest, old-school ripeness levels. The wines reach a brilliant equilibrium.

On paper, the 2013 vintage causes you to raise an eyebrow. Late flowering and then, rain and rot at harvest doesn't present a case for optimism. And, frankly, the vintage is not great across the board. However, the successes, like Dönnhoff, can be absolutely riveting. It's worth noting that the Nahe is probably the biggest success story of the 2013 vintage.

For the 2013 vintage, Dönnhoff's sweet wines show a tension that we haven't seen in the wines for a number of years. This is combined with a gripping mineral element and very clear expression.

The three wines on offer today were our favorites of their respective categories. To quickly run through the vineyards, Oberhauser Leistenberg is a site with sandy slate soils. Dönnhoff likes to make Kabinetts here because the vineyard produces fairly low must weights and the resulting wines are racy and elegant with a driving acid backbone.

On to the Spätlesen, Brücke is a 2ha monopole that's decidedly mineral and powerful. At its best, Brücke combines full-throttle intensity with a light-as-air sensation. Finally, there's the Hermannshöhle. Here's where so much comes together into a seamless whole. There's length, elegance and complexity all delivered with effortless grace - one of the great marriages between producer and site.

Dönnhoff was one of the earliest elites of Germany in our time. His fan club is huge. And that's made quantities a constant issue. However, 2013 is even more painful than usual - the estate was down 30-40%.

For Dönnhoff fanatics, 2013 is a don't miss. The collection is electric.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

John Gilman: "The 2013 vintage has produced the most brilliant Leistenberg Kabinett from the Dönnhoffs since the brilliant 2007, and this likely to be destined to be one of the greatest vintages ever for this lovely bottling. The simply stunning bouquet soars from the glass in a vibrant blend of apple blossoms, white cherries, a touch of tangerine, a gloriously complex base of slate and a topnote of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is medium-full, crisp and filigreed, with lovely intensity of flavor, superb complexity, snappy acids and great bounce, cut and grip on the very, very long and dancing finish. An utterly stunning young Kabinett."

John Gilman: "The 2013 Dönnhoff Brücke Spätlese is pure magic in the making. The brilliantly complex nose soars from the glass in a blaze of pears, white cherries, pink grapefruit, clementines, stunningly complex minerality, perhaps a whisper of petrol, bee pollen and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and beautifully reserved in profile, with a great core, stunning filigree, racy acids, laser-like focus and simply stunning length and grip on the electric finish. This is the best vintage of Brücke Spätlese since the twin gems of 2011 and 2007. Really a beautiful wine in the making."

John Gilman: "The 2013 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese from Weingut Dönnhoff is as brilliant as the Brücke and had no troubles following hard on the heels of that great wine in our tasting in mid-March. The bouquet is highlighted again by a beautiful sense of refinement and filigree, as it offers up a smorgasbord of apple, white cherry, hints of petrol, a complex base of slate minerality, wild yeasts and a pungent floral topnote redolent of lavender and spring flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and very elegant, with dancing acids, great focus and grip, laser-like delineation and a very, very long, pure and electric finish. What is so impressive about this wine is its very snappy acids are absolutely buried in the structure of the wine and the high extract here gives this wine such a suave and seamless palate impression that it is effortless to drink and seems likely to last for decades and decades. Another absolutely classic bottle of Spätlese!"