2006 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling

A few months ago, my girlfriend, father, and I had a miniature Dönnhoff vertical with a few special bottles we had picked up on a whim at a wine store. This was one of the best cheaper finds we’d come across. The store was selling two of these, the 2006 and 2007 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spatleses, for $35 apiece, marked down from their original prices of $73 and $70, respectively. Arguably two of the best vintages for this particular vineyard since the famed 2001, these tweak my buttons in the perfect way. Who doesn’t love quality wine at cheap prices?So, to celebrate our finesse in finances, we tasted these along a 2009 Oberhauser Leistenberg Kab my dad had around. Not quite the perfect vertical, but I never say no to three Dönnhoffs in the middle of the afternoon. Reviews for the ’07 and the ’09 will come, but for now, the 2006. Of the many single-vineyard sites Dönnhoff grows on, I’ve found the Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle to strike the ideal balance between price and varietal charm, with some of the most intensely mineral and vibrant flavors Nahe has to offer. Deeper than the Oberhauser Leistenberg, which has more of a clean, but standard set of flavors, with a little more finesse and character than the Oberhauser Brucke, it offers the quality of some of the more expensive bottlings from the producer, such as Norheimer Dellchen, and is often far more agreeable to spend money on if you’re looking to drink it on the spot.This wine was damned near botrytized, that’s how luscious and opulent it was. It poured out of the bottle as though experiencing a different type of gravity than ours, in a thick, slow-motion, honeyed pour, sloshing into the glass and trailing down the sides of our Riedels, coating the bowl. On the nose, it was grassy and sweet with wafting aromas of cane sugar, white rose petals, and lime oil. Incredibly eager in flavor, although flabby and heavy, like a happy purebred, but slightly dumb Irish Setter. Each sip carried an initial, but unfortunately fleeting hint of petrol. It was incredibly rich, almost too indulgent to finish the bottle. (Don’t worry, we did.)While this is a gorgeous quality in many wines, in this one its unctuousness came across as obvious and one-dimensional. Delicious, but not nearly provocative enough to buy a case of. I don’t feel this is a harsh assessment- it’s certainly consistent in quality with its vineyard and producer’s reputation, yet lacks the captivating nuances and definition I’ve felt with later vintages and classifications. It felt like this one just wasn’t ready to drink. Serviceable now, but clearly on its way to something else. Whether it will concentrate in flavor or fade away is unknown at this point.

2006 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spatlese
MSRP $73
92/100

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About Jess
Rotten? Perhaps. Sweet? Without a doubt. Welcome to Nobly Rotten- the wine site that dares to be a little off.

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