2007 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett
Last edited on 2/1/2013 by sweetstuff
There are 3 versions of this article / View version history
A.P.Nr. 7753010 09 08
The awesomely geologic Nahe valley is overlooked by its highest volcanic hill, the Lemberg, hanging hundreds of meters over the town of Oberhausen. From the top, from the charmingly shabby Lembergerhütte restaurant (mentioned in 100 year old Baedekers) you look near the old train station you can just pick out a grey-har throwing stone shingles off a truck in front of the Dönnhoff tasting room. Across the river the great conical hill of the Hermannshöhle is visible. The amazingly steep dirt-tracked road up to the restaurant is webbed with dead-end lanes off which some sixties-era dropouts still have cottages, and a trip of 3 miles might take you an hour unless you take along a local guide. Be warned!
However, it's worth every white-knucked nailbite, even if you end up paying repair bills on your rented Mercedes, as we did.
From the top you can see below, between yourself and the town, the formerly little-known Leistenberg (a sloped wave of a vineyard), in the riches of the Middle-Nahe plots owned by Helmut D's agricultural wonderland, relegated to the production of Gutsweine and anonymous Kabinetten, the coarse wines that kept the Nahetal peasants from drinking the cholera-laced surface waters and deadly foodborne illnesses. The answer to why simple Dönnhoff wines were so fine was quite simple--they were all or mostly from the Leistenberg. While lacking the joyful lacy frivolity or crystal-clear gluggableness of his greater growths, these wines, if you allow their slightly hard, slighty tight Spätlese-ripeness to dissipate, leave a rich exotic muscularity and romantic value in their off-dry and dry wines. Sometimes it takes days in the decanter for the riper wines to give up their flickering sensations, like a wood fire needing to die down until its warmth and light, while becoming steadier, are more comfortable. Nowhere does Meister's double root show better as he balances on a literal bridge between the Bavarian Catholic peasantry and the Prussian protestantw who rules them. He's only about the third generation between the squabbling parts of his family who argued over the elopement of his faith-variegated paternal grandparents, who made as much money off vegetables grown in the rich volcanic soil and mild climate of the region. It was only his father who decided to concentrate more and more on the grape, and Helmut was the first of his family who was a weinbauer complete and simple.
For not only the soil amazingly changeable, with its vains of devout blood-red volcanism biercing greay and variegated slate with crumbling iron-rich sandstone, and sprinkles of loess and quartzite degraded and transported by the swift river, whose huge drainage in great cycles of wet years continued its fight to try to bore down into these crumbly, gem-ridden rocks. Perhaps the best way to describe one of Helmut's great wines would be to think of them as literally vehicles for dissolved gems. No wonder my life was changed forever by a 1976 Nahe Beerenauslese, whose every last bottle available I purchased.
This 2007 Leistenberg Kabinett is astonishing. with hints of greay, green pink, and light ocher, it's just -so delicate minerology dusted with bitter sherry. You can drink now or hold. It would convert inaccuracy and word-wastage to describe the nearly endless finish her, and it shows decades of of life ahead. jht