Friends of Ernie: Weingut Am Stein

This month we are featuring winemakers from our “Friends of Ernie” portfolio. If you’re in the trade, you can meet these fascinating winemakers at our special tour of trade tastings March 1-4 in Boston, NYC, Chicago or SFO. See our trade tastings blog post for more info.

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WEINGUT AM STEIN
Ludwig Knoll and his wife, Sandra, are the fifth generation to run this 50-acre estate, which was founded in 1890. The winery is nestled on the side of the most famous Franconian vineyard, the Würzburger Stein. Silvaner, generally regarded as the Franken region’s most distinctive variety, accounts for about 25 percent of their vineyards, which include Würzburger Stein and another top-rated “Stein” vineyard in the nearby village of Stetten.

The Knolls completed their transition to organic viticulture in 2008. In addition to their primary goal of conserving nature, they feel they are rewarded with wines that have an extra dimension of character and distinction — wines that inspire.

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THE FRANKEN REGION

Dramatic limestone cliffs along the Main river, such as those shown above in Stettener Stein, form the foundation of the vineyards in this part of Germany and give the wines their characteristic minerality. This region is one of the easternmost wine-growing areas of Germany, with an extreme climate that can swing from fiercely cold in the winter to exceedingly hot in the summer. These rigorous conditions produce hearty, big-boned wines with generous fruit and powerful extract. The wines are a world apart from the delicacy of the Mosel and the reserved nuance of the Rheingau.

THE WINES

Ludwig Knoll Silvaner “K”
The estate-bottled Silvaner from Ludwig Knoll beautifully expresses both the flinty minerality of the Franken region and the gregarious personality of the winemakers. It is a wonderfully accessible, modern wine from one of Germany’s oldest known grape varieties. This versatile, unoaked dry white wine is an excellent wine for food.

Riesling Kabinett Stettener Stein (Bocksbeutel)
The Stettener Stein vineyard lies along the Main river, about 20 kilometers downstream from Würzburg. It is one of the oldest vineyards on the Franken region. Riesling from the limestone soil here has a fine citrus fruit, a touch of mint and a flinty structure.

Silvaner Spätlese “VINZ’
The VINZ name is used for wines made from the best parcels of the Stettener Stein, planted in the 1960s. These old vines are cultivated and selectively harvested by hand. The wines reflect the distinctive limestone terroir. VINZ is dedicated to Vincenz Knoll, the youngest in the Knoll family. Distinctive, lively, stubborn and strong, high stamina, yet sensitive: descriptions that reflect the personal characters also found in the wine.

Spätburgunder “Montonia”
“Montonia” is the name for Knoll’s top Burgundian-style wines aged in barrique. The Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) comes from vines in the steep, exposed Würzburger Innere Leiste vineyard. The yield is strictly limited (to 40 hl/ha; about 2 tons/acre) and selective hand harvesting ensures consistent quality. It is a full-bodied, powerful Pinot, with an aroma of dark berry fruit, fine tannins, a firm mineral structure and a long finish.

HOW TO TRY THESE WONDERFUL WINES

These wines are all available as part of Loosen Bros. “Friends of Ernie” portfolio. If you’re in the trade contact us or your distributor to acquire them. If you’re not in the trade, be sure to ask your favorite wine seller or sommelier for them!