2014 Terry Theise German and Austrian Offerings
Terry Theise Vintage Report for Germany 2013: “When 2013 works it gives wines of great relief and contrast; these are vivid wines. They’re almost never creamy, but they are sometimes quite silky. They can seem deliciously savage at times, like a raspy-voiced singer; it isn’t a “pretty” voice but still you love it. 2013s are high in acidity and stunningly high in extract; this is tactile and discernible, not a metaphor. That said, bottling will often subdue this component, not insofar as it exists but insofar as it can be tasted. At that point extract behaves as a buffer to acidity (and to sweetness if it is there) and confers a richness to the mid-palate. 2013s are often high in botrytis, and the degree to which botrytis was managed is a leitmotif of the vintage.
As such ’13 invites comparison to two previous vintages, 2010 and 2000. But it is both less ripe and not as monstrously high in acidity as ’10 was. It has in common with ’10 its tendency to an almost monumental solidity along with always-prominent (and sometimes unbalanced) acids. Regarding 2000, nearly every grower told me the conditions in ’13 were less challenging, there was less overall mildew, plus they’d learned from the earlier vintage and were better prepared this time. All of this may very well be true. The best 2000s have aged surprisingly well, but that “best” is a slim tip of a large iceberg.”
“In essence the BRÜCKE is a minerally wine; it shows a more masculine profile, it’s more fibrous and nutty than many other Nahe wines, but just at the moment you think you’re tasting everything in it, it comes at you with even more nuance, yet another facet of flavor. If new-world-oaky-creamslut wines are like basic addition and subtraction, these wines are like integral calculus—except that any ragamuffin palate (even mine!) can grok them.
“NIEDERHÄUSER HERMANNSHÖHLE is one of those vineyards that gives utterly miraculous wine. You shake your head in delighted perplexity that fermented grape juice can attain such flavors. It is a steep hillside, not very large (8.5 hectares), with ideal exposition and a soil whose complexity is mirrored in its wines. Walk fifty yards through the vineyard and you see a mish-mash of soils, as though this were a geological junction, an Arc de Triomphe of slate, porphyry, melaphyre and conglomerates—sometimes all jumbled together. The only possible drawback is drought in the drier years. Its favorable exposure makes Eiswein almost impossible.
“Dönnhoff is currently producing the very best wines from HERMANNSHÖHLE, and you need look no further to see one of the wine-world’s great confluences of a great vineyard and a great proprietor. I don’t care what a hot-shot palate you have, the complexities of these wines will tax it to its outermost limits. The fundamental aromas and flavors are a mingling of sharply sweet cherry, sometimes black cherry, and currant-cassis, but there is a hint of anise too, something spriggy, and an undertow of stoniness from the slate. Botrytis brings tropical fruit notes. I would go so far as to claim that NO SINGLE WINE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD IS AS COMPLEX AS DÖNNHOFF’S BEST FROM HERMANNSHÖHLE.”
Arriving at Vinopolis the last week of December
Dönnhoff Felsenber Riesling GG “Felsenturmchen” 2013 ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “Distracted while tasting, so my note is sketchy. The wine is markedly sleek and delineated, and “greener” (in terms of tea and herbs, not lack of ripeness) than ’12. “
Dönnhoff Dellchen Riesling GG 2013 ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “Remarkably approachable young Dellchen! It’s not that the wine is usually forbidding; it’s just closed until about 3-4 years old. But this is as pixilated and herbal-stony as I’ve ever tasted, so full of grasses and herbs and rock-dust. Ethereal finish, exceedingly delicate.”
Dönnhoff Hermannshohle Riesling GG 2013 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “Surprisingly forceful and masculine, and showing a certain Calvinist rectitude, as if the Trimbachs had visited and vinified it. This view is likely distorted, as this among all the wines was the least forthcoming.”
Dönnhoff Oberhauser Leistenburg Riesling Kabinett 2013 ($31.95) $24 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “A trebly wine in general meets a trebly vintage in particular, and the result is like a St. Elmo’s fire of flavor; high-toned lemony aromas, talc, spearmint, with a scythe-like cut and relief; almost shockingly taut in this very young stage”
Dönnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese 2013 ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “An aside—there’s no Felsenberg Spät in the small crop of 2013, as all of it went into the dry wine. Thus we head straight into Brücke, and into its quiet monastic stirring and yearning. That’s the essence of Brücke, this kind of ur-Riesling that seems to find our own primordial souls. In ’13 its acids feel more prominent, and it’s brooding just now, but serenely—Brücke can be obscure but is never austere. I opened the 2001 over the winter and it needs 4-5 more years, though you can drink Hermannshöhle now if you insist. “
Dönnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese 2013 ($64.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “After the Brücke this was vividly lively again. Qualities of sublimity and qualities of almost hyperactive acidity. A decades- keeper, or if you drink it young, then food please. You need to carpet over an end-palate snappiness. The trebly skeins-of-herbs-and-flowers style of ’13 is well expressed here! But again—take this all with some grains of salt. I was early to this particular party.”
Dönnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2013, 375ml ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “The first since 2006. Clarity goes without saying. Berries, mint and wintergreen and aloe vera; the transparency, reserve and intricacy are divine, and the Gyokoru and balsam finish is heart-rending. The best Auslese I tasted from 2013—so far”
Dönnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2013, 375ml ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special Terry Theise “Now we see the cherry and verbena elements of this greatest of all Riesling vineyards in the elevated form of a parfait. It’s sweet and overt yet also mysterious, as intense and as light as the best macaroons.”
Don’t Stop Here!
More 2013 German Riesling arriving November!
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