About William Knuttel & Knuttel Family Wines
William Knuttel’s winemaking journey traverses forty years. Before establishing the Knuttel Family brand with daughter Kate and son Sebastian, he had stops at Saintsbury, which he established as an international leader in Burgundian style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and at Chalk Hill Estate, producing ultra-premium Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. Knuttel was Executive Winemaker at Dry Creek Vineyard, where he completely re-honed the styles and quality of their extensive portfolio. He added the Knuttel Family line in 2014 for sub-appellated, premium wines of incredible value.
William Knuttel is a long time resident of Napa Valley. His daughter Kate, a dancer, graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, while his son Sebastian, a cellist, studied at UC Santa Cruz, receiving his BA with a major in Mathematics–both are currently part of the family business. Knuttel’s hobbies range from golf to genealogy, and he travels often to the Argentine wine region of Cafayate. As an avid music lover, Knuttel developed the Napa Valley Youth Symphony, a non-profit dedicated to bringing professional orchestral experience to talented young musicians, and he currently sits on the board of Berkeley Symphony, where William Knuttel Winery is an official sponsor.
The Knuttel Family Chardonnay was blended primarily from multiple blocks at Windsor Oaks Vineyard in the Chalk Hill sub-appellation of Russian River Valley, vines long cherished and utilized by winemaker William Knuttel. Fruit from Tom Larson’s organically certified vineyard in Sonoma Carneros was added to enhance the structure and spiciness of the final blend.
Our Knuttel Family 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, highly 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!
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Aging: 10 months in French oak, 30% new oak
Richard Rued’s vineyard off Olivet Lane is a laboratory for Pinot Noir clones, and he always allows us to select those that we feel make the best blend. The clones, all Dijon selections, contribute a complex array of aromas and flavors to this 100% varietally pure Pinot Noir, entirely produced 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 based predominantly on fruit from Richard Rued’s vineyard, with small amounts of Dijon 777 Pinot Noir from additional blocks blended for muscularity. Hand-harvested clusters were gently de-stemmed, and whole berries were cold soaked for 3-4 days prior to fermentation. Extraction was gently carried out with pumpovers to maximize fruitiness. After pressing, the new wines racked to French oak for spontaneous malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged for eleven months in 35% new French oak, and bottled without fining.
Bright aromas of wild blackberry and ripe strawberry mingle with hints of pomegranate, violets, and red plum. Flavors coalesce 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.
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Aging: 11 months in French oak, 35% 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 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.
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Aging: 18 months in French oak, 30% new oak
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