2002 Dönnhoff Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Spätlese Nahe

SKU #1005533 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 This Spatlese is extraordinary, hovering in that zone bordering perfection in which wines touch the soul. Medium-bodied and revealing scents reminiscent of sweet scallions, cassis, spices, and fresh herbs, the 2002 Riesling Spatlese Schlossbockelheimer Kupfergrube conquers the taster with ethereal waves of black currants, apples, minerals, baby powder, and pears. Satin-textured, as pure as crystal, and lasting over a minute on the palate, it is a masterpiece to drink with reverence between 2009-2030. All Hail the King of Spatlese! Donnhoff’s line-up of Spatlesen is second to none. For the second year in a row, Helmut Donnhoff has left me shaking my head in wonder. Having tasted the greatest wines in the world, year in and year out, as a wine merchant and as a critic, did not prepare me for the awe-inspiring experience of tasting through Donnhoff’s 2001s and 2002s. They are magical, emotional, breath-taking. My words cannot do them justice. (PR)  (2/2004)

Jancis Robinson

 Very dense and deeply flavoured. Very exciting. Big and bold. Needs time to unfurl. Almonds this time.  (12/2003)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 This has an intriguingly spicy but relatively demure nose at the moment. Then it explodes on the palate and really grips, with smoky, spicy phenolics and minerality gyrating around a rich core of pit fruits and citrus. Endless, spicy, minerally, pungent length. When Donnhoff took over this portion of the Kupfergrube - the source of some epic-making TBAs during the mid-20th century heyday of von Plettenberg's tenure there - he felt it was one of the best parcels in the Kupfergrube's 32 acres, primarily on account of its being slightly less prone to drought. But he believes this is the first year when the roots of his young vines have gone deep enough for the resultant wine to truly reflect its great terroir. 2 stars. (DS)  (1/2004)

K&L Notes

According to importer Terry Theise: "Kupfergrube is the Nahe’s most famous vineyard and one of its two or three greatest. It was planted by convict labor between the World Wars on the site of an old copper-mine (hence its name). It is 14 hectares in size, Mosel-steep and full of an impossibly complicated mish-mash-o-minerals. It is the sine qua non of Nahe-ness at its best. The 2002 has a crazy-pretty nose; the palate’s a twirling little dancer; insanely piquant, as if it blended all three hundred heirloom apples, every kind of pear and quince, a tease of talc and 40 rare minerals. Less a wine than some sort of silvery potion."

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- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.


- Thanks to a recent string of excellent vintages and to the reemergence of Germany onto the international wine writing scene, this is a country that's hot, hot, hot! Germany is divided into 13 wine Region and produces a very wide variety of wine styles, from incredibly high-acid, dry wines to some of the sweetest, most unctuous concoctions on the planet and even a few surprisingly hearty reds. Most of the highest-quality wines are grown on steep banks along the rivers in these Region. Small vineyards are still mostly hand tended and picked, due to the difficult nature of mechanization on these slopes. White wine production accounts for nearly 80% of the total with Riesling being the most important varietal, though Muller-Thurgau is still more widely planted.