Dönnhoff, Kahlenberg Riesling trocken, 2011
We are back. Well, almost. While I have survived three weeks of scorching heat in North America (a hot and humid torture device otherwise known as summer holiday), my co-Rambler Julian is still out somewhere on a secret mission I am not at liberty to talk about. Even so our summer hiatus is over and it is time to catch up with interesting wines and events of the past few weeks.
And what better way to get back into the swing than a German Riesling!
A bottle of Riesling is by itself reason enough to celebrate, as a former boss told me once, but this is not just any Riesling. It was made by Helmut Dönnhoff, arguably one of the most prominent and revered German winemakers of this day. Dönnhoff grows Riesling and some Pinot Gris in the Nahe and among the 25ha he looks after are some of the most highly rated vineyards of the region. It has been a while since I tasted one of his wines and after Dönnhoff featured in a recent discussion on Twitter I could not resist this bottle when I saw it in a local wine shop.
The problem with taking one of the stars back home with you is expectation management, even more so when you pay over 25 quid for the privilege - it just has to be excellent in order to justify the price and stand up to the reputation. The bouquet certainly did not disappoint: punchy citrus, fresh and sharp herbs, subtle vegetable aromas and mineral are brought together by sweet fruit (especially stone fruit) in a way that makes its presence in the glass felt before you have even finished pouring. On the tongue the Riesling feels quite similar with a nice dynamic between some juicy sweetness, earthy mineral and citrus and lime; an almost chewy texture and very present acidity add to it. There is also a herbal, floral touch but acidity and mineral in the finish stop it from being too playful.
As you will have figured out from this description we are indeed looking at a very good Riesling, although considering the price I would have hoped for a serious wow! feeling, which it did not quite deliver. For good value German Riesling I would look elsewhere then, but seen purely in terms of its quality the Kahlenberg is hard to fault.