Spectrum Fine Wine Auctions

The June 2019 Internet-Only Auction Part 3

Auction # 558 | View Auction Schedule and Details
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Auction Ends: 6/20/2019 6:00:00 PM PDT

Lot #296. Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese Goldkapsel VDP Großer Ring Versteigerung #35 2011

Description: Consists of 1 Half Bottle, 0.375L
Score: 97 WA.
"'It’s only thanks to greatly increased acreage' – a near doubling, as explained in my Issue 192 report – 'that I am now able to achieve a wine like this,' explains Helmut Dönnhoff of his 2011 Niederhäuser Hermannshöhlee Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, the second of its ilk back-to-back. It was selected-out in the same week as its Auslese and Beerenauslese counterparts, but as part of a separate picking, which was further winnowed at the press house and eventually resulted in 85- liters of concentrate that finished fermenting and were bottled not long before I tasted it near summers’ end. Extremely high-toned and penetrating scents of pear distillate, Chartreuse, maraschino, and almond extract roar from the glass, bringing to attention not just the hairs in my nostrils, but those on the back of my neck! Viscous and creamy yet persistently vibrant thanks to not only its (largely hidden) springs of acidity but also its persistently volatile elements this coats the palate with an impression of honey and marzipan, caramel and maraschino syrup, finishing with phenomenal, if as yet somewhat undifferentiated and extremely sweet persistence. Blessed is he who one day has a chance to compare this back-to-back with its stunning 2010 counterpart (about which I raved in Issue 198). If possible, give either of them 15-20 years before you even think about tucking into a bottle." The Dönnhoff crew participated in a massive 'pre-harvest' in late September to cull those few but pervasive bunches that had picked up vinegar from marauding yellow jackets or contracted early and unpromising-looking botrytis. 'Immediately after that,' relates Helmut Dönnhoff, 'we picked the Pinots, and then started in on Riesling, but there was no stress thanks to the stable weather. We picked each vineyard twice more, once chiefly for botrytis and once for the rest. I’ve never seen more beautiful grapes – everywhere you looked, regardless of vineyard. Any mistakes I made could only be in their cellar upbringing. It got so warm during the day that some pickers went shirtless. There was no difficulty with fruit harvested in the morning, but in the afternoon – since we don’t have a cooling chamber – we had to rush each lot of fruit straight to the cellar to be pressed, so that we could then cool-down the juice.' As a group, this year’s dry wines are a surprisingly austere group especially for their vintage. They also display relatively full body, hovering close to 13.5% alcohol – half a percent over what Helmut Dönnhoff says is his target. He offered a revealing comment this year in opining that 'lots of young growers today are too eager and extreme in the pursuit of perfection in their fruit. Dividing of clusters and trimming-off any perceived imperfection at the pre-harvest stage is impractical, and in fact you need those - call them little scars (Narben), otherwise the wine becomes too polished and glib (glatt), even boring. Each cluster can have a bit of under-ripeness and all manner of things (alles Mogliche). That diversity (Buntheit) is incredibly important.' Another insight-rich Dönnhoff observation: 'To interpret each of these sites as it is, requires that one operate with and produce wine of a certain restraint' – that remark apropos of his trio of Großes Gewächse, but no doubt intended to apply across the board. “That is my responsibility,' he adds, 'but of course also my great pleasure. (My son) Cornelius didn’t pay any special attention in managing the vineyards as to whether it was Hermannshöhle or Kirschheck – they all got the same degree of attention and the same treatment. We do high-class work, and that’s that. So the differences you taste don’t reflect any favoritism.'" Wine Advocate #205, Feb 2013
Provenance: The Seltenheit Cellar
Lot Location: Orange County
Estimate: $450

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