The estate owns 25ha of vines, including plots in nine Grosse Lage vineyards – the highest quality classification as set out by the VDP – including the monopole of Oberhäuser Brücke.
Today, the estate is run by fourth-generation Cornelius Dönnhoff, but it was his great-grandfather Hermann Dönnhoff who began selling single-vineyard expressions of Riesling from their best sites in the 1920s, and the family’s winemaking history can be traced back to the latter part of the 18th century.
Cornelius’ father Helmut had run the estate since the early 1970s, and is largely responsible for establishing the estate’s modern-day reputation and quality.
Dönnhoff is renowned for its racy, elegant wines which can have a potent mineral character and plenty of tension.
The wines are whole-bunch pressed, with the drier styles fermenting naturally in cask before transferring to stainless steel and spending a handful of months on the lees. Botrytised grapes used for sweeter styles are fermented shortly after pressing with cultured yeasts, to avoid the grapes spoiling.
The Nahe region
Nahe has a wide diversity of soils, from slate and limestone to loam and sand. Located between the Rhine and Mosel valleys, most of the vineyards overlook the Nahe River. Riesling dominates, although many other varieties are grown in smaller quantities.