Monday, April 21, 2008

2005 Donnhoff Weissburgunder & Grauburgunder

Every time I walk into a wine store I see a head-to-head tasting. On this occasion I saw a pair of German whites from Dönnhoff - same vintage, different grapes, and neither a Riesling. Even better, they both hail from the German wine region of Nahe, a region I have never tasted before. And Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)? These are rare, both accounting for less than 5% of German plantings.

Both wines exhibited a marked earthiness and omnipresent mineraliness on the nose, but the 2005 Dönnhoff Weissburgunder -S- showed more honeyed-apple scents while the 2005 Dönnhoff Grauburgunder -S- sported lemon peel and floral aromas. On the palate both were extremely elegant, soft and luscious, and neither wine betrayed the high % alcohol. In particular the Weissburgunder was more flavourful and better structured with nice acidity, while the Grauburgunder was softer, more perfumey. These were stunning bottles, and one of the first "WOW" moments I have had with a white wine in quite some time. 
cork. 14% alcohol
Scores: 17.5/20 (Weiss), 17.5/20 (Grau)
Prices: C$42.25, C$43.75 (SAQ)

The employee at the shop warned me that these were rather "different" vs. any other German wines I had previously tasted, but I'm not so sure - while the grapes and the 14% alcohol were unusual, there was an acidic structure and minerally backbone that was very German.

Over the past year I have spent more time on German wines (easy because my wife loves 'em), but my coverage is shallow. If you're interested in German wines I suggest a visit to Barry's or Lyle's - both sites have been an inspiration for my journey into German wine and both provide excellent coverage of all things vinous in Germany.


Edward said...


Each time I walk into a wine store I can only see trouble! Lovely write up and an admirable sense of adventure.

It's good to see some green and blue returning to your garden :)

Barry said...

What can I say after that...the cheque is in the post...

But glad you enjoyed the wines..
Dönnhoff (you don't have the ö on your PC do you?) a top grower from the Nahe....
now..not far away is the Ahr region...remember those Spätburgunder wines..
Well..get a number 7 bus...and show your Senior Citizen Pass...
and who knows..we may have you speaking the language if you drink enough of it..

Joe said...

Hi Ed - I am not usually adventurous at $40 when I know nothing of the winemaker, but I took a chance and it worked. Stunning weather here - best April I can remember - low 20s every day, not a cloud in the sky - snow is long gone and the plants are stirring.

Hi Barry - better send me some Spätburgunder - what would I do with a cheque? Probably buy wine. If you notice I use both Dönnhoff and Donnhoff in the post - I figure most English language google searches would omit the "ö". Just bought a bunch of Dönnhoff rieslings today, special release - "Ich spreche Deutsch!"