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Fine German Riesling From The Nahe

Nahe Riesling German Wine Niedherhauser Hermannshohle

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“We’re old-school,” says Caroline Diel as she hands me a bottle of her hand-disgorged sparkler made from Riesling.

That’s the feeling I get visiting the producers in the Nahe. Even though the region is an hour’s drive from Frankfurt, the producers here live in their own world. And it’s a delicious one at that.

Schlossgut Diel, my first stop in the Nahe.

When it comes to German Riesling, the regions of Mosel, Rheingau, and even the Pfalz are usually the first to come to mind. Don’t sleep on the wines of Nahe. This region has varied terrain with many microclimates and soil types. There are also several ambitious producers that make some of the greatest German wines.

Traveling through Rheingau gives way to an aristocratic feel while cruising through the Mosel provides shock and awe. A drive through Nahe is much calmer. The region is full of one-lane roads, hidden villages, and steep vineyards that are just as impressive as any in Germany.

Steep vineyards outside the village of Rümmelsheim.

In the Nahe, the pace of life here is slower. Winemaking is under the radar and vineyards aren’t out in the open. You won’t see endless swathes of vines like in neighboring Rheinhessen, you’ll have to seek them out. The wines and producers are worth discovering.

The Style Of Nahe Riesling

We spent one month in Germany. Our focus was on Riesling, visiting producers in the Ahr, Franken, Mosel, Pfalz, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, and the Nahe. Personally, I felt the style of Riesling was more producer dependent than anything (I know this is a controversial statement and up for debate). The only two regions that I could see an overlapping style are the Pfalz and the Nahe.

Rieslings from the Nahe strikes the perfect balance of ripe tropical fruit, white flower, and sharp acidity. The fruit isn’t too intense and I found no examples that were austere in their youth. Most wines have the acidity we wine nerds crave in Riesling, yet they aren’t so sour enough to confuse them with battery acid.

The best thing about these wines is that they offer tremendous value-for-money. They are available around the world and are a great gateway into German Riesling for those new to the genre. I enjoyed the wines so much that nearly every wine in each of these producer’s portfolios could have made the list below.

It would be easy to simply list everyone’s Grosses Gewachs. Instead, I chose to mix and match wines at all price points that display the Nahe flair.

Wine Recommendations:

You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.

  • Diel, ‘EirfelsRiesling 2016

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The Diel ‘Eirfels’ Riesling is made from two declassified Grosses Gewachs vineyards (Goldbach & Burgberg). This has notes of sweeter white fruit. Complex with layers of flavors, white flower, dandelion, petrol, and baked apple. Long and mineral finish. This is a fantastic wine. Score: 91/100

  • Diel, ‘Goldloch’ Riesling Kabinett Grosse Lage 2018 

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The Diel ‘Goldloch’ Riesling Kabinett is a brilliant semi-sweet wine. It has flavors of white and yellow peach, with a touch of apple blossom and spice. From gravelly soils. There is 40 g/L of RS here. It’s crisp and refreshing for this level of RS. Long finish and low in alcohol at 8.5% abv Score: 92/100

  • Diel, Goldloch Brut Nature 2008

The Diel Goldloch Brut Nature is a traditionelle méthode sparkler that spent a whopping 108 months on the lees. This is from a Grosse Lage vineyard. Charine puts it best below. Score: 92/100

  • Dönnhoff, ‘Dellchen’ Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 

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Dönnhoff is one of Germany’s great producers. The Dönnhoff ‘Dellchen’ Riesling Grosses Gewachs is a stunning wine. This is bright and ready to drink out of the gate. There are notes of lemon, yogurt, white apple. Concentrated but light on the palate with a deep fruit core and real substance on the palate. Tight, long finish. Score: 93/100 

  • Dönnhoff, ‘Hermannshöhle’ Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018

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The Hemannshöhle vineyard towers over the winery. It’s a steep vineyard. The Dönnhoff ‘Hermannshöhle’ Riesling Grosses Gewachs is one of the top bottlings in the estate. It’s intense and fresh with tons of yogurt, lemon, and white peach flavors. There are subtly sandy tannins from the barrel. The fruit is pure and clear with a lot of electricity and a long finish. Score: 94/100

  • Dönnhoff, ‘Oberhäuser Brücke’ Riesling Spätlese 2018

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The Dönnhoff ‘Oberhäuser Brück’e Riesling Spätlese is a stunning sweet wine with notes of lemon, white peach, and honey. It’s full and unctuous on the palate with bright acidity. This has energy and vibrancy with a gritty texture and a long finish. Score: 94/100

  • Hexamer, ‘Schlossböckelheimer in den Felsen’ Riesling Trocken 2018

The Schlossböckelheimer in den Felsen is one of Hexamer’s prime vineyards, the vines are grown on steep slopes. This a more mineral-driven white wine. There are notes of pebbles, pepper, yellow peach, and apple. The razor-sharp acidity guides the long finish. Score: 91/100 

Hexamer Riesling Trocken Schlossbockelheimer in den felsen
  • Hexamer, ‘Schlossböckelheimer in den Felsen No. 1’ Riesling Trocken 2018

Hexamer labels his top wines as ‘No. 1’. The Hexamer ‘Schlossböckelheimer in den Felsen No. 1’ Riesling Trocken is worth the label. It is serious Riesling. There are notes of yogurt, yellow peach, red apple, and pepper. This is full-bodied for a fresh white wine with many layers and textures. The finish is powerful, smoky, and long. It has real potential for aging. Score: 92/100

Hexamer Riesling No 1
  • Hexamer, ‘Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels No. 1’ Riesling Trocken 2018

The Hexamer ‘Shlossböckerlheimer Königsfels No. 1’ Riesling Trocken is the second reserve white wine from the estate. This is brighter and fruitier than the ‘Schlossböckelheimer in den Felsen No. 1’. There are notes of pepper, spice, and chamomile to go along with the yellow peach and apple notes. This is ready to drink now but should do great with another year in the bottle. A tad lower acidity than the other top white of the estate, which makes it a tad friendlier to most consumers. Score: 91/100 

  • Emrich-Schönleber, ‘Frühtau’ Riesling Trocken 2018

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The Emrich-Schönleber ‘Frühtau’ Riesling Trocken is basically a declassified Grosses Gewachs. It is fermented in large oak casks. Notes of lemon, peach, lime, and pepper. This full and ripe on the palate. There is high acidity and a peppery finish. Made from fruit from a Grosse Lage vineyard. Score: 92/100

  • Emrich-Schönleber, ‘Halenberg’ Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 2018

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The Emrich-Schönleber ‘Halenberg’ Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese is truly divine. It has notes of marigold, honey, daffodil, pepper, pineapple, and lemon rind. This is rich and ethereal on the palate. For a sweet wine, it is impeccably balanced. Long finish. 324 g/L of RS with 13.2 g/L of acidity. Pure, long, and age-worthy, this is killer stuff. Score: 97/100

Emrich Schonleber Halenberg Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese
  • Kruger-Rumpf, ‘Dautenpflänzer’ Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2018

The fruit for the Kruger-Rumpf ‘Dautenpflänzer’ Riesling Grosses Gewächs is grown in quartzite and then fermented in large oak casks. Impressive and dense nose with lime, kiwi, pineapple, and baked apple. It’s rich, full, and electric – what good Riesling is all about. Score: 93/100

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We covered our own accommodation, visits, and travel for this article. The opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.

DR MATTHEW HORKEY
DR MATTHEW HORKEY
Author | Speaker | Wine Nerd
https://exoticwinetravel.com

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