Regions > South Australia > Adelaide Super Zone > Mt. Lofty Ranges Zone > Clare Valley region

: Knappstein Wines

Regions

Knappstein Wines

www.knappsteinwines.com.au

2 Pioneer Ave, Clare, 5453

Cellar Door: Weekdays (9-5), Sat (11-5), Sun/pub hol (11-4)

Ph: (08) 8841 2100

 

knappstein label

Founded in 1974 as Enterprise wines, Knappstein is located in the original 19th century Enterprise Brewery, itself a National Trust building and the landmark of the Clare township.

Knappstein’s vineyards, predominantly planted in the late sixties and early seventies, are in the vicinity of Clare in the northern end of the Valley with the exception of the Ackland vineyard, known for its minerally Riesling, which lies slightly further south near the town of Watervale.

The company was founded by Tim Knappstein, who began the business. It is now part of the Lion Nathan group and also supplies grapes for Petaluma. Tim has now established his own Riposte brand in the Adelaide Hills (see our reviews).

The tight Ackland Riesling and the ripe and savoury Shirazes and Cabernet Sauvignons have been the been signature wines but there is also Merlot, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There is also a very good concentrated but savoury ‘fortified Shiraz’ (or port as it was called before the term was banned to comply with the European Union). The sparkling Shiraz, with a long lees contact, is also worth looking at.

The Margaret River born and Adelaide Uni oenology graduate winemaker is Julian Langworthy

cellar
Knappstein's attractive cellar door is located in an old brewery building in the the town of Clare. They still make beer here (photo: genxywines)
Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Knappstein Acland Riesling 2015

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink: 2017 or 2029+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, perfumed and shapely with an intense core of lime, green apple and pear with orange blossom and lavender florals, the palate becomes more taut and steely down the line, very good persistence leading to the wet slate finish (****1/2)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2016

Purchased: Cloudwine, South Melbourne ($20)

Drink: 2018 or 2024 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2016, more perfumed than recent vintage and generously flavoured brown lime, pear and lemon blossom with musky spices and a touch of lanolin, talcy with bright orange peel acidity and good length (****)

Knappstein Mayor’s Vineyard Shiraz 2014

Purchased: Not ($46)

Drink: 2026

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, a floral, medium bodied and elegant wine showing glossy mulberry and redcurrants, it is gamy with mint and white pepper notes, the tannins are grainy with some oak char on the finish (****)  

Knappstein Enterprise Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Purchased: Not ($44)

Drink: 2028+

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, firm but glossy blackcurrant, plum and redcurrant with eucalptus, violet and sage notes, penetrating and earthy medium-full bodied palate with a streak of graphite,  tightly knit powdery tannins and cedar/chocolate oak (****)

Knappstein The Mayor's Reserve Shiraz 2013

Purchased:  Not ($46)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting:  Feb 2016, quite a pretty, floral wine for a hot vintage in the Clare Valley, glossy redcurrant, mulberry and plums with some violet, mint and white pepper notes, has some herbal meat complexity, medium bodied and gamey with grainy tannins and moderately charry oak (****1/2)

Knappstein Enterprise Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Purchased:  Not ($46)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting:  Feb 2016, powerful and essency blackcurrant and dark plums with violet and menthol notes, earthy and medium-full bodied and ripe palate with a firm chassis of dusty tannins and cedar/vanilla oak (****)

Knappstein Slate Creek Riesling 2015

Purchased:  Not ($30)

Drink: 2027+

(GXY) Tasting:  Feb 2016, quite floral, shapely, intense and powerful lime cordial, pear and red apple with brown spice and rose petal notes, minerally, long and tightly wound with firm grapefruit acid backbone leading to a slaty finish (*****)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2015

Purchased:  Not ($22)

Drink: 2017 or 2023 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting:  Feb 2016, moderately intense lime cordial, pear and granny smith apple with touch of lanolin and musky spice, talcy texture, good length with tangy  citric acidity (***1/2)

Knappstein Watervale Acland Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink: 2016 or 2024+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2015, tingly and concentrated brown lime cordial, pear drop and lemon zest with orange blossom and white flower notes, talcy with crunchy grapefruit acidity and a hint of briny phenolics, more focussed than the Handpicked (****1/2)

Knappstein Bryksy Hill Watervale Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2016 or 2023+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2015, Gold Medal at Canberra International Riesling Challenge 2014, new single vineyard release, more supple mouth feel than the Acland but has a long and concentrated core of brown lime cordial and lemon zest with white flower and lime blossom notes, steely finish, the phenolics are finer but consequently bring less textural interest (****1/2)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2016 or 2022+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2015, as in 2013 the nose is bit subdued but the palate is generous and estery, verging on broad, brown lime, pear drop and lemon zest with lanolin, brown spice and rose petal notes, talcy with wet slate and orange rind on the finish (****)

Knappstein Hand Picked Riesling 2013

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2015 or 2022 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, Silver Medal at Clare Valley Wine Show 2013, as is typical the nose is a bit subdued, ripe brown lime cordial and granny smith apple flavours, some lanolin on the mid-palate with musky spices, anise and rose petal florals, fine talcy texture, some wet slate and orange peel nuanced acidity (****)

Knappstein Three Gewurztraminer Pinot Gris Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2014, Silver Medal at Clare Valley Wine Show 2013, good musky aromatics, talcy lychee, rose oil and pear with gingery spices and a touch of lavender, evenly weighted palate with some refreshing lemon/lime sherbet on the finish, finely crafted Alsatian-style blend (****)

Knappstein Watervale Ackland Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2014 or 2020+ if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, from slaty soils at 420-450m overlooking Watervale, while in the open, ripe style of the Handpicked the Acland has better line and length, intense lime essence, pear and lemon peel with pronounced orange blossom and lavender florals, tangy and persistent wet slate finish (****1/2)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2014 or 2019 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, Gold Medal at Royal Melbourne Wine Show, this is in a lightly later picked style with alcohol at 13%, typical of this vintage it is in an open, ripe, up front tropical fruit style with a rich lime essence, pear drop and lemon sherbert backbone, some lanolin plumpness along with plenty of sweet spices and musky rose petal florals, talcy finish with nervy mandarin-edged acidity (****)

Knappstein Ackland Riesling 2011

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: June 2012, from 43 year old vines in Watervale and picked just before the worst of the March rain events, aromatic with a powerful, focussed slaty core of lime and lemon with fennel, lanolin, cinnamon, citrus blossom and kerosene nuances, powdery talcy texture with tangy grapefruit and lime-infused acidity, the emergent kerosene aspect will polarise consumers and wine judges who regard it as a fault but I enjoyed the lift that the nuance can bring if kept subtle (****1/2)

Knappstein Three Gewurztraminer Pinot Gris Riesling 2011

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: June 2012, this quirky Alsatian white blend has tightened up quite a bit since the I last one I tried at the Knappstein cellar door (2008 vintage), perfumed lychee and pear with musk and ginger nuances, the Riesling brings some chalky lemon/lime zest and structure to the finish, slightly oily but the elements seem to be better integrated this time (****)

Knappstein Enterprise Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: June 2012, powerful, firm and deep set blackberry, blackcurrant and dark plum with violet and mint notes, the long and earthy palate is not overly extractive but perhaps marginally over-ripe, cedar/vanilla oak with tightly knit powdery tannins, will have a long cellaring life (****)

Knappstein Clare Valley Shiraz 2010

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, rather demure nose and fruit brightness, raspberry and plum with black pepper, menthol and liquorice notes, earthy and medium bodied with powdery tannins and chocolate/cedar/cinnamon oak support (***)

Knappstein Hand Picked Riesling 2011

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: July 2011, picked before the worst rain events that wrecked much of the region's (and SE Australia's vintage), floral and moderately intense lime and lemon with musk notes, soft bath powder texture with a wet slate finish and tangy grapefruit acidity, good length although a little broad (***1/2)

Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2010 or 2016 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, sourced from Watervale, perfumed and tangy core of orange blossom, green apple and lime with musc, long and tautly focussed with a spine of flinty minerality and infused with bath powder chalkiness, vibrant and lingering citrus finish (****)

Knappstein Enterprise Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, from 40 year old vines, dense and tarry, cassis and dark plum with menthol and liquorice notes, backbone of firm but pliant tannins with well balanced French oak, the 14.9% alcohol does leave some spirity heat on the finish but this style undoubtedly will have many fans and will reward those with patience (****)

Knappstein Clare Valley Sparkling Shiraz 1998

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, the extended lees contact gives this some extra complexity and richness over the more basic fruity examples of this sparkling style, creamy blackberry and mulberry with mocha and sarsparilla notes, balanced and long with a well integrated dosage although the finish does show some cola sweetness (****)

Knappstein Hand Picked Clare Valley Riesling 2009

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, floral and moderately intense lime and lemon with musk and spice notes, chalky bath powder texture, a little unfocussed in places but finishes with some sleekness through the wet slate and fresh lemon acidity (***1/2)

Knappstein Hand Picked Clare Valley Riesling 2008

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($22)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, brightly fruited lime and lemon rind with rose petal and spice notes, gentle chalkiness, gets a bit broad and unfocussed on the mid-palate but snaps back into focus with a steely finish (***1/2)

Knappstein Clare Valley 8:8:18 Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, early picked and off-dry style, the 18 refers to the grams/litre residual sugar, ripe tropical fruit, cut grass and passionfruit with a hint of mango, good length with a crisp powdery acid finish (***1/2)

Knappstein Clare Valley Yertabulti Vineyard Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, ripe blackberry, plum and mulberry with violet and mint notes, fairly extractive with a chalky texture, medium-full bodied with chewy savoury tannins, the cedar-vanilla oak is not too overt (***1/2)

Knappstein Clare Valley Yertabulti Fortified Shiraz 2004

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, uses nine year barrel aged brandy spirit, spicy blackberry molasses, raisens, chocolate and mocha-cedar, the 21.5% alcohol put this back in the tradition of Australian ‘port’ rather than the Portuguese style of the more recent styles (***1/2)

Knappstein Clare Valley Rose 2009

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, derived from Petit Verdot, semi-sweet strawberry and raspberry, silky with a dusting of spices, crisp chalky finish and good length (***)

Knappstein Clare Valley Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, clean if musky passionfruit, lemon and cut grass with spices, not very intense with a crisp orange rind finish (***)

Knappstein Three Clare Valley Gewurztraminer Riesling Pinot Gris 2008

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2009, this rather eclectic blend shows musky lime, lychee and pear with mid-palate spiciness, rather broad and pulled all over the place by the choice of varieties but is pleasant enough as a summer quaffer, crisp chalky finish (***)

Knappstein Cabernet Merlot 2005

Purchased: King and Godfreys, Carlton ($19)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2008, blend of 65% Cabernet, 20% Merlot with some Cabernet Franc and Malbec, ripe blackberry and dark plum with liquorice, violet and mint/menthol notes, slightly jammy, medium-full bodied, spicy with cinnamon and black pepper complexity, sweet French oak, supple tannins (***1/2)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2006

Purchased: King and Godfreys, Carlton ($19)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, generous if a bit broad lime, lemon rind and slightly confectionary tropical fruit with a touch of musc, spice and honeysuckle, chalky mineral finish, a bit softer and more forward than usual (***)

Knappstein Shiraz 2004

Purchased: King and Godfreys, Carlton ($23)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2007, very ripe and porty plum, prune and cassis flavours, savoury clove and cinnamon features, meaty and sturdy on the palate, grippy tannins with sweet chocolate, liquorice and coffee oak support (***)

Knappstein Handpicked Riesling 2003

Purchased: King and Godfreys, Carlton ($19)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: July 2006, powerful and reasonably intense lime and lemon, slightly confectionary with a touch of honeysuckle, long chalky and dry finish (***1/2)

Knappstein Shiraz 2003

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda ($19)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2006, ripe plum and black cherry flavours with clove and cinnamon features, fruit is a bit jammy and sturdy on the palate, firm acid and grippy tannins but lots of chocolate, liquorice and coffee oak features, lots happening but needs five years cellaring to bring it together (***1/2)