TN: 2020 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese (Germany, Nahe)

  • 2020 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe (6/5/2024)
    Wowza is this delicious! Yes it’s sweet (it is Spätlese after all), but it also has the mineral depths of a salt mine. Carrying the classic Nahe fruit salad flavors, it then finishes with an avalanche of stone that buries the fruit. It’s classic Brücke, the monopol calling card of Dönnhoff.

Nice note, David.

I like Donnhoff too for the unfussy mineral/fruit balance you describe. They are just powerful but easy wines to like IMO … balanced and eager to please.

I had a GREAT Donnhoff 2013 Hermanshohle Auslese Goldkapsel on Saturday that just slayed with Beijing cumin lamb dish.

I have much to learn about German wine, but I do know a knowledgeable camp discounts the house a bit … it’s ageability? What’s the knock?

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It’s a long and fraught story that involves a number of factors not in the winery’s control.

BTW, I adore that 2013 NH Auslese.

Awesome. My local guy has the 21 and 22, have you tried either? Or perhaps the answer is, this is Donnhoff, you big oaf, just buy it.


You said it, not me! There are few more secure benchmarks than Dönnhoff. Although I would exercise some caution with '22. Maybe it’s just not my vintage, but the wines tend to follow the medicare model. Decent coverage at the start and finish, with a donut hole in the middle (not a perfect analogy but you get the idea).

I had that feeling about 2020 for quite a while, but it definitely seems to be filling in - and for more than just this bottling.

I’ve heard/seen two criticisms. There might be more, but I don’t know of them.

For years there were several people saying these wines do not improve with age. My experience is different, but some of the people saying this are very knowledgeable.

Some people say the yeast strain Dönnhoff uses has such a strong signature that it obscures terroir. Again, this is not my experience. There are a lot of singular producers that can be identified in blind tastings. That doesn’t mean they don’t fully express terroir. In my experience, the differences between the various vineyard sites from Dönnhoff are extremely pronounced and fairly consistent across vintages.

I would be curious to know if there’s anything else. I think some people just want a different style of German Riesling. I consider Dönnhoff one of the top producers in the Nahe and even in all of Germany, from dry wines to very sweet, including Spätlese (the Brücke Spätlese always impresses me, even when it’s more about potential than current greatness). If I’m nitpicking, maybe the Kabinetts are not generally the strong point of the lineup, but I still really like them.

I think a lot of people have harshly judged Hermannshöhle GG because they drink it too young. With proper age, it can often compete with other big names in terms of quality. The other GGs may be less consistent and never quite as good (not totally sure on the latter), but other great producers also have 1 or 2 standouts for dry wines and then some that just aren’t at that level, even other GGs (Keller is the only exception I can think of; I know David disagrees).


Thanks @David_Bu3ker. I buy the NH Spätlese in most vintages, have had the Felsenberg Spätlese a few times, but never the Oberhauser. How would you compare them, any consistent themes? Btw I also buy a smattering of other Dönnhoff wines, prädikat and otherwise.

I’m always intrigued by these discussions of the overall goodness of Dönnhoff, and am baffled by the haters (there’s no accounting for taste!). But I’m kind of glad that they are not as universally loved as they are in my house, helps keep prices moderate :sunglasses:.

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For me the Brücke is the most deeply mineral of the Dönnhoff Spätlese bottlings. Kirschheck is consistently the fruitiest. Hermannshöhle is the Goldilocks bottling where all the elements are in this ethereal balance. Nothing sticks out, which (IMO) is sometimes to its detriment in a “tasting” environment. It never reaches out with some particular feature grab you by the wrist (or neck!) to say “here I am!”

And as for the “Dönnhoff doesn’t age” trope, I have many thoughts formed over hundreds (actually more like thousands by now) of bottles and some historical information unrelated to the winery that inform my opinion that it’s utter bunk. Not sure I want to dive into those details yet again.


Thatcher’s just dropped a motherlode of Donnhoff

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:rofl: :metal: :bath: