Donnhoff Estate QbA Riesling 2017
One of my friends is a Riesling fanatic. He reveres the grape to the point that he once lectured me about how Riesling is the “ultimate” grape variety. The rationale for his argument was that Riesling is the one variety used to produce wines of every conceivable sweetness level, with producers crafting styles from bone dry all the way to remarkably sweet and everything in between.
When he first hit me with that idea, I dismissed it as kooky. But the more time I spend thinking about it, the more I find myself agreeing with him.
Riesling is indeed amazingly versatile. If you agree that the multitude of ways producers choose to ferment a particular grape correlates to its greatness, you’d be hard pressed to find any variety quite so righteous as Riesling. Its resistance to cold and susceptibility to humidity make Riesling an ideal candidate for use in sticky sweet wines, while the grape’s hallmarks of high aromatic and acid levels also allow for the creation of beautiful dry wines.
Of the many regions known for Riesling production, none are more important than Germany. There are more vineyards planted for Riesling in Germany than in the United States, Austria, France and Australia combined.
Around 200 of Germany’s top producers belong to an organization known as the VDP – a self-monitoring group dedicated to protecting the quality standards of German wines. Nahe, Germany has a smaller number of VDP members (only 9 in total) than most of the more-prominent German wine regions, but there are some very important properties there.
The Donnhoff estate has been in Nahe for more than 250 years, and today encompasses some 280,000 square meters that include 9 uniquely exceptional vineyard sites. Donnhoff has mostly planted Riesling and produces wines that mirror the mixture of igneous rock and sandstone soils found in the vineyards. There are many different offerings out of the Donnhoff estate – some are vineyard-specific (like the
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and some source fruit from multiple sites.
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The QbA Riesling utilizes a selection of 15- to 30-year-old vines from top vineyards throughout the Middle Nahe grown using sustainable viticulture practices (Donnhoff is certified by Fair’n Green). The grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in a classic off-dry style and are then matured in stainless steel to preserve freshness. The Estate Riesling has a highly intense aromatic, with notes of tart mandarin and ripe key lime. A touch of residual sugar left behind rounds out the wine, adding in a hint of peach against naturally vibrant acid. A great indoctrination to the world of German Riesling or a solid reminder of what exactly those wines can be.
Also awarded 92 points by James Suckling.