Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe, Germany, 2015
Grape / Blend
The Leistenberg vineyard lies in a small side valley of the Nahe just outside Oberhausen. The name is a double play on words. “Leisten” means “achieve ” in German, and the Leistenberg perpetually lives up to its name. “Lei” is also a regional word for slate, and these warm, decomposed clay slate soils and steep terraced hillsides provide ideal conditions for Riesling to thrive. The southeast-facing slope basks in the morning sun, which dries out any excess moisture and promotes healthy fruit. The afternoon sun is less powerful, nurturing a long ripening period and moderate alcohol levels. An ideal vineyard for Kabinett wines of high minerality and sophisticated elegance.
“In ancient times, before you were born (before my primeval ass was born), Leistenberg was the top site of Oberhausen. “Brücke” didn’t yet exist; the vineyard was part of Niederhäuser Hermannsberg, and Helmut hadn’t begun to acquire his necklace of Grand Crus in Niederhausen, Schlossböckelheim and Norheim. Though its exposure is less than perfect (southeast rather than due south), this is favorable in the modern climate era, as it permits longer hang-time, which enables wines like these Kabinetts to be made, and to be outstanding. I sense my old friend Helmut was feeling wistful about Leistenberg, as though it was the child who doesn’t get enough attention. The 2017, as it happens, really embodies the idea of two-vintages, as the fruit from the 2nd flowering creates an acidity that’s, let’s say, “expressive” yet the mineral detail and dialogue of fruits is also striking. On the dry side, the wine is potentially great according to how it ultimately reconciles its factions.” Terry Theise