The wines of Knappstein, Clare Valley

xKnappstein is based in the Clare Valley, an area much in vogue for its Rieslings, and an area at the forefront of the screwcap revolution when the producers switched en masse in the 2001 vintage. Knappstein make Riesling of course, along with other aromatic whites including Gewürztraminer, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. There’s Chardonnay too, and reds are based on Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Knappstein’s premium range appears under the “Enterprise” label.

Like many of Australia’s smaller, but well-known producers, Knappstein is no longer independent. Tim Knappstein sold up to Brian Croser of Petaluma fame in 1992, and then the latter was itself bought-out by the giant Lion-Nathan brewing group in 2000. The wines are imported into the UK by Bibendum Wines.

For other stockists of Knappstein, see

white wines

Knappstein Hand Picked Riesling 2007
Very clear, clean, gentle lime and blossom nose. Very nice clean and crisp palate, bone dry with shimmering acidity. 87/100. £6.46

Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Riesling 2007
Adds a layer of wax and minerality to the handpicked. Much deeper, more profound with intense smoky minerality and loads of waxy, full-bodied fruit shot through with acidity. 91/100. £8.55

Knappstein Three 2007
70% Gewurztraminer, 25% Riesling, 5% Pinot Gris, this has slightly nettly vegetal quality comes through, with hints of exotic fruit and citrus. Deliciously punchy and vibrant palate – loads of mouth-watering lime crunch. 88/100. £6.92

red wines

Knappstein Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2005
A blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot, this is very juicy, very fine black fruit with a creaminess and little slick of sweet oak. Most attractive. The palate is perhaps a touch drying, but there’s lovely fruit, spice and silky tannins too. 87/100 £7.32

Knappstein Shiraz 2004
There’s a nice suggestion of schisty, earthy black fruitiness here, leading on to a palate with very refined, quite crisp blackcurrant filling the mouth. Big, but not too big. 88/100. £7.32

Knappstein Enterprise Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 There’s and earthiness and fine, slightly vegetal ripeness here, with plenty of class French oak. The palate has immaculate black fruit, with a slightly pastille quality. Grippy, with tight tannins and juicy acidity. 90/100. £13.38

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