Amongst the four brilliant Spätlesen that I tasted in 2009 from Helmut Dönnhoff, the Hermannshöhle is the pick of the litter this year. The wine offers up a brilliantly crystalline bouquet of sweet grapefruit, orange, a touch of wild yeasts, simply stunning minerality, citrus zest, dried flowers and just a brief glimpse of the petrol to come with bottle age. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and extremely long and dancing, with a great core, laser-like focus and magical length and grip on the seamless and utterly refined finish. A great, great wine. (Drink between 2015-2040)
After a performance like this for a Spätlese, the warning was hardly necessary! Dönnhoff's 2009 Niederhauser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese offers a riot of herbal aromas reminiscent of but far more intense and diverse than that of the corresponding Grosses Gewachs, and here, too, accompanied by grapefruit and passion fruit in a manner that calls to mind Sauvignon. Horehound, licorice, sage, mint, black tea, nut oils, candied grapefruit rind, and crushed stone inform a silken-textured palate. As with the corresponding Brucke, there is a remarkable interactivity on display, and a depth of mineral and animal savor that goes beyond crustacean shell reduction or veal demi-glace, leaving me salivating helplessly. This should be worth following for 20-25 years. (DS)
Balanced and ripe, delivering concentrated peach, nectarine and white plum flavors that are rich and well-spiced. Very ethereal on the finish, with long, vibrant notes of mineral and sea salt. Drink now through 2027. 180 cases imported. (KM)
Tantalizing aromas of papaya, sweet herbs and incense. A discreet but intense apricot flavor rises from the mid-palate, accompanied by a subtle acidity. Animated, finely spiced spätlese with a deep, long finish. I may be underrating this. (JP) 91+
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