2003 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Eiswein (375ml)

SKU #1190200 96 points Wine Spectator

 Beautiful, multifaceted and harmonious, unfolding its apple, passion fruit and citrus flavors seamlessly. Vibrant and long on the finish, with a citrus aftertaste. Drink now through 2025.  (4/2005)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 For two years in a row, 2001 and 2002, Helmut Donnhoff earned perfect scores for the following effort, an amazing feat when one realizes I’ve only bestowed that honor on four young wines. While the 2003 Riesling Eiswein Oberhauser Brucke did not complete the hat-trick, it is exceptional. Deep aromas of honeyed botrytis can be found in its nuanced aromatics. Medium-bodied, unbelievably dense, concentrated, and long, this superb effort coats the palate with oily waves of black cherry jam, white chocolate, and molasses. Unlike most of the super-high-end sweet 2003s I tasted from Germany, this one did not abandon grace and balance in favor of syrupy sweetness. That being said, while it will most certainly last for many decades, its burnt sugar flavors lead me to recommend drinking it over the next 15 years. Bravo to Helmut Donnhoff for this magical line-up! (PR)  (12/2004)

Jancis Robinson

 Pale green-gold. Wonderfully arresting on the nose. Exciting vegetal notes on the nose. Then very, very gentle. I think this is the best Eiswein I've ever had. It tastes of the vineyard. 19.5/20 points. (JR)  (6/2004)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 A complex aromatic melange of orchard, bush and citrus fruits in different forms of super-concentration. Comes onto the palate like honey and candied raspberry drops, showing flavors of apricot jam, distilled essence of currant, and a liqueur of myriad other fruits. The finish, though dominated by candied fruit flavors, is nevertheless the personification of lift and elegance. By the time he harvested this in mid-December, says Donnhoff, he was about ready to throw in the towel. "I'm not keen on allowing grapes to hang any longer-not for psychological reasons but on account of the health of the fruit. This year there were several days when I swore to myself 'this is it'. Either it freezes tomorrow or we forget it." 2 stars. (DS)  (1/2005)

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By: Adam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/20/2018 | Send Email
I had a bottle of this at the end of 2015 and it was so good I took extensive notes. Rich, precise, and fresh, this is not a typical 2003 Riesling. Brucke is an A+ terroir which is slim and stretched along the river's edge and I'm sure this helped mitigate the heat of the vintage. I share Jancis Robinson's sentiment that this is the best eiswein I've ever tasted (it's not even close). It's tropical with passionfruit and some peach on the nose. The palate so complex and deep as it fans out... almost transcendental as a white wine with a liqueur of blueberry and raspberry. It's amazing to me that Helmut Donnoff even decided to leave the grapes out long enough to make an eiswein in 2003 (few did), but he's one of the two best winemakers in Germany and this is proof positive.

Additional Information:



- 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.