TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis

Dönnhoff, Riesling, 2009

Posted by Torsten 27 Apr 2011

After recently exploring his 09 Pinot Gris, it is now time to taste Helmut Dönnhoff's 2009 Riesling. Dönnhoff is the uncrowned winemaking king of the Nahe region and one of the (more or less crowned) archdukes of German Riesling, so I was very curious to see how his entry-level Riesling would do.

After it had been sitting in my famous wardrobe for a while, the Dönnhoff's time had come when I set out to visit one of London's secret supper clubs.

I had planned to go to the White Room for a while, for food that always sounded interesting and also for what looked like a very stylish venue. On the menu for our visit were dishes such as "Spicy Scallop & Mango Spoons", "Smoked Fish Tart with Seasonal Salad" and "Lemon & Parsley Roasted Salmon with Champagne & Chive Sauce served on Leek Risotto", so I hoped the Riesling would be a decent companion (my friend Steve supplied a dry, heavier Italian white to give us more variety).

dining at the White Room with Dönnhoff Rieslingdining at the White Room with Dönnhoff Riesling

As we ate our way through the menu I congratulated myself both on the choice of venue/food and the wine, all of which came together in the most delicious way. The Dönhoff was an obvious pairing with the spicy scallop and mango, but it also demonstrated how food friendly Riesling with a bit of residual sugar can be with the other dishes.

The wine had a fantastic nose that instantly charmed Steve and me. Citrus fruit (lemon peel), well rounded stone fruit (peach) and flinty mineral - just the memory makes me as thirsty as the Riesling did at the dinner. Elegant, well defined fruit, depth and structure, but all like a fresh spring breeze.

lemon salmon on risottolemon salmon on risotto

Even better than the charming bouquet was the enchanting taste and mouthfeel, driven be the fantastic dynamic of sweetness-acidity-dry mineral interplay: juicy, very well balanced, enticing fruit, citrus peel again and a dry mineral salty finish that is the perfect balance to the fruit and residual sugar of the wine. Already very drinkable straight out of the cold fridge the Riesling improved further in the glass and went very well with all dishes of the night - depending on the food either the fruit or the mineral/dry side of the wine were enhanced pleasantly.

The Dönnhoff is substantially better than quite a few more expensive wines, and also a perfect example of what is great about Riesling.


Indeed a benchmark entry level Riesling! I can also recommend the Tonschiefer 09 and Felsenberg 09. But another Benchmark entry level Riesling is also the Diel "Nahestein", dry and slim with tons of minerality. Refreshingly good! Cheers


Oh, that sounds lovely. I think I should explore Diel a little more... Again, thanks for sharing your recommendations, Alex.