Weingut Knebel produced an impressive collection of dry-tasting wines in 2015, including a superb von den Terrassen which offers great value.
Few vintages have been as hyped as 2015 and there is some truth in it. 2015 yielded some stunning wines, and this in all stylistic directions.
But not everything that shines is gold. At its heart, 2015 is a ripe vintage, pepped up by glorious zest, with many wines on the powerful side. Only the very best wines will turn into classics in a decade or two.
Some of these classics will carry the Knebel label. The Estate produced an impressive collection of dry-tasting wines in 2015, including a superb dry Riesling von den Terrassen which offers stunning value.
Weingut Knebel is a small (6 ha) family Estate located in Winningen which had attracted a growing attention in particular for its gorgeously pure sweet wines since the 1990s.
The Estate hit some tough times when Reinhard Knebel died unexpectedly in 2003. His son Matthias Knebel, who is at its helm now, had just started at winemaking school at the time and candidly admits: “Was it not for the help and support of Gernot Kollmann, now at Weingut Immich-Batterieberg, and the incredibly dedication of my mother Beate, the Estate would have probably not survived this very difficult period.”
The support of Gernot Kollmann proved also beneficial in another way: The Estate started to make a name for itself for great dry-tasting and off-dry Riesling from these steep terraces around Winningen as well. Unsurprisingly, we highlighted its 2008er Winninger Brückstück Feinherb Alte Reben as one of our “wines of the month” back in 2010.
Over recent years, young Matthias Knebel (despite his 10 years tenure, he still is only in his early 30s) further refined the style of his dry-tasting wines, capturing more freshness from the grapes and lightening up the mid-palate structure.
As a result, he developed this already very good Estate into one of the finest sources for dry-tasting Riesling AND of noble sweet wines in the whole Mosel. Unsurprisingly, Knebel wines made it on both the lists of off-dry Riesling highlights and noble-sweet highlights of the vintage in 2015.
Almost all the vineyards tended by Weingut Knebel are situated on terraces. The hills around Winningen are so incredibly steep that vine growing can only be done on small terraces clinging onto the rock.
The work involved to tend these vineyards is sheer unimaginable. They are only accessible with a monorail track so everything has to be brought up and down by hand. Regularly, in the winter or after some heavy rain, these dry-wall terraces fall apart and need to be painstakingly restored. Yet Matthias Knebel never thought of working easier vineyards: “This is the way the terroir is set out in our part of the Mosel, this is therefore what I, as wine grower, need to work with.”
Besides a set of single-vineyard wines, the Estate also produces a dry-tasting Riesling called von den Terrassen which, as it name indicates, only comes from these rough terraced vineyards in Winningen. Typically, it involves fruit from the terraced parts of the Winninger Hamm, the classical terraced parts of the Winninger Domgarten as well as declassified casks from the Winninger Röttgen.
This von den Terrassen regularly offers tremendous value as it has all the characteristics of (at least) a “Premier Cru” yet is bottled and priced as an Estate wine.
The 2015er von den Terrassen, which was fermented down to legally dry levels, underlines this nicely. The wine, which compares favorably with many grand “GGs”, is yet one more example of the great value that Mosel Riesling still offers to wine lovers.
The gorgeous 2015 Knebel collection was reviewed in Mosel Fine Wines Issue No 32 (Oct 2016). You are a subscriber and miss this Issue? Simply send us a request by email and we will be happy to send you a copy. You are not yet a subscriber and wish to get this Issue? Subscribe free of charge by registering yourself here below and ask us for a copy by email.
Riesling von den Terrassen
The 2015er von den Terrassen is essentially made from parcels in the Winninger Hamm and the terraced parts of the Winninger Domgarten as well as declassified casks from the Winninger Röttgen. While the term dry is not written on the label, the 2015 von den Terrassen fermented down to legally dry levels with 6.5 g/l of residual sugar. It offers a gorgeous and subtle nose of grapefruit peel, minty herbs and fine spices. The wine is stunningly well balanced on the palate and leaves a beautifully elegant feel of herbs, flowers and fresh spices in the long and fully dry finish. This is simply of stunning quality for an Estate wine. Give it a year or two and it will outshine many “Grand Cru” bottlings from many Estates: It is simply that good! 2017-2025
© Text by Mosel Fine Wines "The Independent Review of Mosel Riesling"
Disclaimer: Mosel Fine Wines is an independent publication and has no commercial relationship with any Estate, association or organization featured in this article.