Whenever you read about the wines of Emmerich Knoll, it’s striking how even seasoned critics deeply familiar with them can’t help but marvel at the seeming contradiction at their heart: such power and depth, yet so sleek, fresh and energetic.
The warm 2017 season here might have run things close, but Emmi Knoll told us at ProWein in March that they were saved by September. A freshening dose of rain and the arrival of some cooler weather held things nicely in check. For this is a family that likes to let the grapes hang out, deepening in flavour and complexity. It’s “time out in nature” – not cellar work – that gives wines their character and enduring appeal, says Emmi. “Hang time is an extremely important part of our wine style,” he continues. “Like butter, it cannot be replaced by anything else.”
These ‘17s will once again lead you frolicking across their many dimensions, marvelling at how they pull it off.
2016 Emmerich Knoll Riesling Loibner Federspiel RRP $49
The fruit comes from flat land on alluvial, sandy soils at an altitude of 220m. The vines are trained on a modified Moser training system, giving higher exposure to light and improving ventilation. They’re planted to a density of 3,500–4,000 per hectare and the fruit is selectively hand harvested. The grapes are slowly airbag pressed as whole clusters, with some skin contact. Fermented with cultured and natural yeast in a mixture of cask and stainless steel tank from 500 to 5,000 litres, depending on batch quantity. Fermented for 5- 10 days at temperatures between 20 and 22°C. Lees aged for three months with no bâtonnage. Racked twice all up, and given a light filtration before bottling.
Delicate peachy character and a bright, lemony acidity make this a very attractive wine, with a crisp, rather long finish. Drink or hold. 91 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2017
2017 Emmerich Knoll Riesling Schütt Smaragd RRP $131
Before it was tamed, the Mentalbach carried sand, rubble and rocks between Höhereck and Loibenberg into the Danube valley after heavy rainfall. In contrast to the smoothly flowing waters of the Danube, the sediments from torrents are coarse-grained and unsorted. Compared to the terrace locations with Gföhl gneiss, the soils in the Schütt area are sandier and stonier, while also very deep.
The vines sit at 240m on pure gneiss-based primary rock, and the vineyard produces very focused, straight and powerful wines with pure minerality. Vine age ranges from five to 50 years, with an average of 25 years. Selectively hand harvested. Gently airbag pressed as whole bunches with some skin contact. Fermented in cask and stainless steel tank from 500 to 5,000 litres depending on batch quantity. Fermented for 10 to 20 days and at temperatures between 23 and 26°C. Matured on lees for six to eight months with no bâtonnage.
So many spicy nuances and an entire spectrum of stone-fruit aromas, make this dry Riesling masterpiece extremely attractive. Yet, beneath these aromas lies a deep chasm that will suck you in if you gaze into it. Still quite firm and tight at the long finish. Drink or hold. 96 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2018
2016 Emmerich Knoll Riesling Schütt Smaragd RRP $132
Super-ripe and super-fresh with hints of all the citrus fruits and some stone fruits, too. The finish has a ton of dried citrus and staggering vitality that suggests this wine has decades of ageing potential. 96 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2017
2017 Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Loibner Federspiel RRP $53
These sites in Unter-Loiben bear soils composed of alluvial, sandy compounds, with an altitude of 220m. All hand harvested, the fruit is not destemmed. It sees some skin contract and is airbag pressed. Cultured and natural yeast are used for the 5- to 10-day fermentation in barrel and stainless steel tanks at temperatures ranging from 20 to 22°C. The Grüner Veltliner sits on lees for three months with no bâtonnage.
A fresh and lively Grüner Veltliner with a lot of charm and plenty of green and yellow apple aromas, plus a hint of white pepper. Drink now. 90 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2018
2017 Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Kreutles Smaragd RRP $86
The Kreutles vineyard at the foot of the Loibenberg is formed from loess, a fertile and calcareous glacial sediment that is transported by wind. Two distinct horizons can be seen in the profile: the upper horizon that is enriched with humus, and the brownish-red loess horizon. This soil has developed from eroded Gföhl gneiss material from the nearby Loibenberg. At the top left of the humus horizon, there is pebble from a transported glacial Danube river terrace, which was also transported down to the Kreutles vineyard by slope erosion on the Loibenberg. The wines from loess soils are expressive, and depending on the producer, can also reach baroque richness.
The Smaragd was harvested two weeks later than the Federspiel in 2017, and also comes from more highly prized parcels with older vines.
A wonderfully expressive Grüner Veltliner with aromas of sweet green beans and snow peas, plus plenty of green plums. Generous, but without any hint of heaviness. Long, silky finish. Drink or hold. 94 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2018
2017 Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Loibenberg Smaragd RRP $115
Loibenberg is one of Austria’s undisputed grands crus. The most prominent rock is Gföhl gneiss, a metamorphic rock that was transformed from an acidic, granitic parent rock. The sandy and stony soil favours water drainage and facilitates root growth. Erosion on the slope has mixed in glacial, calcareous loess material. The vines are trained on a modified Moser training system, and are selectively hand harvested. The grapes are slowly airbag pressed as whole clusters, with some skin contact. Fermented with cultured and natural yeast in a mixture of barrel and stainless steel tank from 500 to 5,000 litres, depending on batch quantity. Lees aged for three months with no bâtonnage. Racked twice all up, and given a light filtration before bottling.
The whole range of stone-fruit aromas, but the subtle spice is what makes this stand out. Powerful, but comes across as surprisingly light-footed on the palate. This is magnificent Grüner Veltliner Smaragd. Drink or hold. 95 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2018
2017 Emmerich Knoll Grüner Veltliner Loibner Auslese 500ml RRP $82
From various small parcels from around Loiben that were botrytis-affected and picked very late in the vintage.
A powerful and spicy Auslese that’s only slightly sweet and, therefore, best drunk with sautéed liver or liver paté. Very long, texturally complex, creamy finish. Drink or hold. 95 points. Stuart Pigott, jamessuckling.com October 2018