About Knuttel Family Wines
William Knuttel’s winemaking journey began at Saintsbury, where he was winemaker from 1983 to 1996 and established that brand as an international leader in high-end Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Burgundian style. William Knuttel was also Vice President and Winemaker at Chalk Hill Winery from 1996 to 2003, specializing in ultra-premium Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. From 2003 to 2011 Knuttel was Executive Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, where he completely re-honed the styles and quality of that winery’s extensive portfolio. Knuttel was also ZAP’s winemaker in 2005, producing their Heritage Zinfandel, and President of the California Cabernet Society from 1999-2003.
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The 2015 vintage on the North Coast featured distressingly light crops, allowing a warm, dry summer to easily bring clusters to full ripeness. Our vineyard blocks are at Windsor Oaks Vineyard in the Chalk Hill sub-appellation, and additional fruit came from Tom Larson’s organically certified vineyard in the Sonoma Carneros region.
The Knuttel Family 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is in classic Burgundian style—Kate’s Pas de Deux, a wine dance in which balance results from strength and poise, intensity and finesse. Whole cluster pressing insured maximum flavor and minimal working of the skins. All lots were barrel-fermented in French oak. Lees were stirred every two weeks through a partial malolactic fermentation, then monthly during final barrel aging. The final master blend was bottled unfined.
This bright, expressive wine is well-articulated with flavors of lemon custard, tropical fruits, and orange blossom. A viscous, firmly structured palate adds notes of nutmeg, ripe lemons and spicy oak, all merging in an elegant finish. The wine’s balance makes it incredibly versatile with your favorite dishes—be adventurous!
Brix at harvest: 24.3% (average)
Bottling pH & Titratable acidity: 3.68, 6.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.2% by volume
Residual sugar: 0.09% by weight (dry).
Aging: 11 months in French oak, 36% new oak (Francois Freres, Kadar, Tonnelleries O)
The 2014 Knuttel Family Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is 100% varietally pure and produced entirely with traditional Burgundian techniques. After blending thousands of wines over nearly forty years, William Knuttel still marvels at how the components and characteristics of wines mesh together like the tracks in a rock and roll recording. Put every track together, and something sublime emerges–and, especially with Pinot Noir, any of the “tracks” can hook you into the wine’s charms!
This Pinot Noir is blended from two vineyards, both of which are also bottled as vineyard designates for the William Knuttel label. Richard Rued’s mixed clone planting off Olivet Lane in the Russian River Valley offers a complex array of aromas and flavors, and Dijon 777 Pinot Noir from Windsor Oaks Vineyard in the Chalk Hill sub-appellation adds muscularity to the wine’s expansive structure.
Hand-harvested clusters were gently de-stemmed, leaving whole berries intact. All lots were cold soaked for 4-5 days prior to fermentation at low inoculation rates. Extraction was gently carried out with pumpovers to maximize fruitiness, and occasional délestage enhanced the wine’s tannin profile. The new wines were drained when dry, then pressed to French oak for ten months of aging, with 35% new oak. The final blend was not fined.
Bright aromas of wild raspberry and ripe strawberry mingle with hints of pomegranate, violets, and red plum. Flavors explode on the palate, and an elegant structure and mouthfeel give way to ripe, focused tannins in the finish. The wine’s balance and fine acidity pairs with seafood and light dishes, and is hearty enough for roasted meats and more substantial fare.
Brix at harvest: 23.8% (average)
Bottling pH & Titratable acidity: 3.81, 5.7 g/L
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Residual sugar: 0.08% by weight (dry).
Aging: 11 months in French oak, 33% new oak
The vineyards for our Dry Creek Valley Cabernet include Doug Rafanelli’s Cabernet blocks in the western hills of Dry Creek Valley, and those from Fred Peterson’s Bradford Mountain vineyards a bit further to the north.
The 2015 Knuttel Family Cabernet Sauvignon is a true Bordeaux blend—Sebastian’s “Infinite Limits” perfectly describes the virtually infinite number of permutations in our blend trials, with only limited solutions giving yield to unlimited complexity. To select barrels from our Rafanelli and Peterson hillside blocks, we blended Peterson Vineyard Malbec for its bright fruit, and Merlot from Woods Vineyard for its spiciness. Handpicked, sorted fruit was extracted by punch down in small bins. Extended maceration on all lots augmented the wine’s structure and depth, as did eighteen months of aging in French oak, 30% of it new.
Aromas of black cherry and ripe plum mesh with blackberry spice and violets. Flavors explode on the palate, with velvety tannins and elegant acidity seamlessly integrated into the finish. The balance of the wine makes it extremely versatile, pairing equally well with salads and cheeses as well as grilled vegetables and roasted red meats.
Brix at harvest: 24.0% (average)
Bottling pH & Titratable acidity: 3.73, 5.6 g/L
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Residual sugar: 0.06% by weight (dry).
Aging: 18 months in French oak, 30% new oak
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Winemaker William Knuttel first visited Cafayate six years ago, and was immediately entranced with the area and its people, culture, and climate. The town is nestled in the Calchaqui Valley at over 5000’ elevation in the foothills of the Andes. This area of high mountain desert has the feel of Napa Valley plunked down into Zion Canyon National Park. Vineyards seemingly grow in nothing but rock and sand, surrounded by towering mountains of red rock and granite.
The 2015 Tentadora Malbec features a blueberry and blackberry mélange with notes of spice and earth, and a smooth succulent core of fruit that broadens into a velvety finish. The color is inky black, and soft and well-resolved tannins are seamlessly integrated into the finish. In true Argentine fashion, the 2015 Tentadora Malbec is eminently suited to the table, and pairs especially wellwith roasted meats–and all the better if the meats are grilled at an asado, or Argentine-style barbecue.