Weingut Knauss is a producer of wines in the Wurttemberg-Remstal in south-central Germany. They make wine in a wide variety of prices and styles, from international varietals like merlot and chardonnay to wines most likely found in Germany and from inexpensive to expensive.
And yes, they do grow some riesling. Everyone tends to varietal when German wine comes up--riesling.
German winemakers must get tired of the inevitable riesling questions; even though the grape is Germany's most grown it is far from the only stand out from the country.
"I agree with you that Germany is often associated with riesling, but there are a lot of grape varieties that are very exciting, too. For us the lemberger and trollinger are great grapes," says Andi Knauss, cellar master, winemaker et cetera at Weingut Knauss. "It is very typical for our region and it brings a wide range of different flavors depending on the vineyard where it grows."
Lemberger, also known as blaufränkisch, is grown in Austria and Eastern Europe. Lemberger/blaufränkisch can be light to medium bodied and tend to be tannic and spicy with dark fruit flavors . The wine has fairly high acidity which isn't surprising given that it is grown in relatively cool areas. Most lemberger in Germany is grown in Wurttemberg. Trollinger, known as schiava grossa in Italy, is a fruity, light wine with mild to moderate acidity. Again, in Germany most of it is grown in Wurttemberg.
Weingut Knauss create a number of trollingers. There is a fairly low priced version (pictured here) that is the perfect compromise wine when someone wants a red, another a white and a third a rose. To add to its attractiveness it comes in a liter bottle (an extra glass, more or less).
Then there is "without all," a trollinger that expands upon the winery's low intervention philosophy.
"The 'without all' is the consequence coming from our change to organic farming. The idea originates in the Jura where a lot of non-sulfured, non-chapitalized wines are produced," says Knauss. "Trollinger is very similar to Poulsard in the Jura so we just gave it a shot and it worked very well."
Wines often have sulfur added at various stages and for various reasons. Chapitalization refers to adding sugar in wines, as is sometimes done in areas where grapes do not achieve optimal ripeness (ripeness equals sugar).
"Without all," when you find it in the store has no front label at all.
"I don’t think that 'mission' is a good expression for what we are doing. We just keep it simple and do our own thing," he says. "Low-tTech winemaking is the key."
Weingut Knauss grows grapes and purchases them from growers in the area. Knauss believes in the quality of all of these grapes regardless of their origin.
"The relationship to our partners is very close, so we have an ongoing overview over all our vineyards," says Knauss. "The main part of our harvest is by hand, so the grapes can be selected in the vineyard and only the best quality comes to the cellar."
What is coming next from these German winemakers?
"We have some new sparkling wines coming. Also no dosage, no added sulfur and made from two of the main varieties in the Champagne, pinot noir and pinot meunier or spätburgunder and schwarzriesling as we call them in Swabia. We are very excited about these." says Knauss.