Oberhauser Brucke Riesling BA, Donnhoff
Vineyard: Oberhauser Brücke
Soil Type Grey slate bedrock covered by a layer of loess loam
Slope 0 – 15%
Aspect South by southwest
Monopole site for Dönnhoff – the historic Luitpoldbrücke (Luitpold Bridge), built during the period of Royal Bavarian administration, crosses the Nahe River directly adjacent to the village of Oberhausen. Opposite that bridge lies a small vineyard parcel that benefits greatly from the nearby river’s moderating influence. A distinctive microclimate is created, protecting the vines and promoting early flowering each year, which translates into a long growing season for the late-ripening Riesling grape. The special soil composition, consisting of grey slate bedrock covered by a layer of loess loam, ensures an adequate water supply for the vines even during drought years. These conditions and ancient geology give rise to distinctive and elegant Riesling wines of great structure and concentration. The sheltered valley location is also a perfect stage for grapes to freeze on the vine in cold weather, the necessary precondition for luscious ice wines.These unusual conditions are the reason why this vineyard parcel, though measuring just 1.1 ha, is registered as one of the smallest protected sites on the Nahe.
Press & Reviews
After, as usual, a small share of Brücke had been left for Eiswein, a tiny bit of botrytis finally showed up. Given Dönnhoff’s reputation for Brücke Eiswein, it’s not surprising that the most promising bunches were the ones that got spared the initial Auslese picking. On November 22 there was a forecast of frost, and the estate’s elite Eiswein crew was alerted to show up at daybreak. But the Ice Man evidently failed to get that message. “And at that point,” related Dönnhoff, “I just said ‘Basta! [Schluss!] Everything gets picked this morning!’” There is a lightly confectionary note here born not just of high residual sugar but also, I suspect, of the brush with frost. (Why freezing often engenders such an impression, I can’t say.) Red raspberry and quince preserves with a crystalline sugary edge and a hint of caramel seem also to be dusted with crushed stone, saliva-inducing mineral salts and whatever mysterious ore-like matter it is that informs this collection’s other Hermannshöhle bottlings. For all of its confitured and confectionary aspects, the fruit also comes off as lusciously succulent, not to mention impeccably pure. A polished and subtly creamy feel adds further allure, and the superbly sustained finish is mouthwateringly umami-rich. This is certainly one late-picked 2018 that doesn’t disappoint! But I imagine the firming and acid-concentrating effect of low temperatures (albeit nowhere near low enough to have frozen the grape solids) counteracted any sense of fruit fatigue or sagging berry skins such as is conveyed by so many late-picked 2018s.