February 21, 2022|In Winery Spotlight

NEW: A Celebrated Aussie - Knappstein Wines

“Superb wines, solidly structured and very age-worthy, and extraordinarily affordable. I would use them to start a new cellar in a heartbeat.”
Huon Hooke, Wine Critic, The Real Review

Buyer Alert! Do not tar and feather every Aussie Shiraz as a high octane, jammy big bruiser that will overwhelm any food. Yeah sure, there are wines like these and sometimes… we even drink them (only when we need a hug-in-glass kinda red). But generally, those wines are the frozen pizzas of the wine world. They’re supermarket commodities, made at industrial wineries, whose character varies minimally from vintage to vintage, if at all. Instead… it’s time to roll out the red carpet to a celebrated Clare Valley producer making a sexy Shiraz that is as expressive as any great Rhône red – and at half the price! Welcome to Dhall & Nash – an elegant, affordable Aussie battler Knappstein Wines.

The Knappstein Story:

Steeped in history and synonymous with the Clare Valley in South Australia, the Knappstein Enterprise Winery has enjoyed a long and revered reputation as a maker of premium wines.

The Knappstein name has been involved in the wine business in South Australia since 1895. As a third-generation vigneron founding owner, Tim Knappstein has some good winemaking genes in his make-up. His ancestor who came out from Germany in the 1870s was a co-founder of the Stanley Wine Company in Clare in 1895. This long family history in the Clare Valley means Tim Knappstein knows this bit of dirt darn well.

Tim commenced his career in the family wine company, making his first wine in 1966 after graduating from the Roseworthy College Oenology course. From there he spent many years at legendary Leasingham winery where Tim amassed more than 500 show awards, including 120 gold medals and 24 trophies for the premium quality Leasingham range through a period when new technology was revolutionising both winemaking and the wines themselves. Tim became renowned for his no compromise approach to winemaking, producing style and quality standouts in a very competitive industry.

By 1971, Tim started planting and developing his own vineyards in Clare Valley and by 1976 had started his own wine company, Tim Knappstein Wines. The winery building Tim bought was the former old Enterprise Brewery building in the township of Clare. Pictured on the winery label is this wonderfully characterful 1878, National Trust classified stone building, now beautifully restored even better than its original incarnation.

Always an explorer and wine pioneer, in the early ‘80’s Tim saw the potential in another exciting new cool climate region – the Adelaide Hills. By 1995, the time was right to sell his Clare interests to concentrate solely on the fruit and wines from the then newly emerging wine region. He had sold to Accolade Wines (Petaluma, Leasingham, Hardy’s) who by 2019, on-sold the company to current owners, Yinmore Wines who continue to follow the revered principles and high standards of the founder Tim Knappstein.

“The regular Knappstein Shiraz and Cabernet are among The Real Review’s Top Value Wines of Australia. Good for a few years in a cool cellar, or a box under the bed.”

The Real Review

The Passion for Wine Continues:

After the strong innovation of the founder, you won’t find a bog standard recipe or a secret winemaking formula at this winery. It turns out that each delicious drop of Knappstein Wine is always created with strong historical reference and also thanks to winemakers with a combined 60 years’ experience between them. Then add a dash of mindful winemaking and a sprinkle of understanding of the Knappstein land and wine style and how to best let it shine, then the liquid treasures continue to pour forth.

Here at Dhall & Nash we’re starting the ball rolling with shiraz but of course, Knappstein is no one-trick-pony. They have truckloads of awards & trophies for all of their wines, particularly the Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps one of their most prestigious global accolades was for their 2000 Knappstein Enterprise Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which won international trophies in the 2004 London International Wine & Spirit Competition. And another massive recognition was the Warren Winiarski (Founder of Stag’s Leap Winery) Trophy for World’s Best Cabernet Sauvignon – the first Clare valley winery to win this trophy no less!

“Our winemakers act as guardians of the vines, and caretakers of the wines”.


Speaking of Experience:

The key bloke in the senior Winemaker job is Michael Kane who is one of the most knowledgeable people in the biz. Starting in the industry at a wine auctioneer in Perth, he went on to secure his formal qualifications in Winemaking before travelling the world, working in some of the most prestigious wine regions, such as Burgundy, Champagne, Oregon, Napa, and Central Otago. Since then, he’s brought his wisdom back to Oz and crafted award-winning wines for several celebrated brands such as Wolf Blass. Michael works closely with Knappstein’s Consultant Winemaker, Mike Farmilo — who was previously responsible for making all Penfold’s red wines, including Grange and St. Henri, Lindemans, Seppelts and Wynns. With over 40 years of industry experience, Mike believes that some of the best wines in the country are being made from the Clare Valley — and we have to agree!

The 2019 Knappstein Shiraz is … “absolutely the essence of Clare Valley”

Huon Hooke, Wine Critic

The Winemaking Philosophy:

Since the early days at Knappstein under Tim’s guidance, the winemaking focus has always remained to showcase the quality of fruit from the individual soils and climates of the Clare vineyards. Put simply, it’s about respecting the individual growing sites, to create wines with identity and personality, shown through their expression of varietal and regional attributes.

Having some of the best vineyards in the region, Knappstein are always dedicated to a ‘distinguished vineyards’ philosophy. With the full control of vineyard management and their long-term commitment to these sites, they have forged the company’s reputation as one of Australia’s leading premium wine brands.

In viticulture, Knappstein takes a natural approach, with particular attention to sustainable practices and reducing environmental impact. Knappstein works hard to ensure they achieve minimal impact on the surrounds whilst supporting sustainable practices at a viticultural, winery and even at an office level. Extensive under vine mulching, the use of livestock for winter weed control, and the introduction of biological fungicides significantly reduces Knappstein’s environmental footprint.

Based on a long-term sustainable approach, Knappstein has a key interest in soil health, vine nutrition and biological activity. Finding solutions to viticultural problems with reduced chemical applications is a real focus in order to maintain a balanced, natural biodiversity. Knappstein has been able to reap the rewards of this careful cultivation of its prized vineyard sites.

The Vineyards:

The regional pride shines through by the fact that all of Knappstein’s vineyards are in the vicinity of the Clare Valley. Their wines are a pure expression of Clare, with major respect being paid towards their growing sites and the historical venue that they call ‘home’.

Planted by a former Mayor of Adelaide in 1969, The Mayor’s Vineyard is perched on the eastern ridge of the Clare Valley at a cool 500m altitude. The vineyard’s calcium calcrete soils are dotted with slate and have long produced savoury Shiraz wines of impeccable elegance. The low cropping vines and cool elevation combine to create wines of great varietal characters and complexity.

The Enterprise Vineyard was planted in 1969 and is located at the northern end of the Clare Valley. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines are dry-grown on red loam soils and speak profoundly of a sense of place. The vineyard is planted with both easterly and westerly aspects producing grapes with a harmonious balance between strength and elegance. The vineyard has produced all the Enterprise Cabernet Sauvignon since 1974.

The Ackland Vineyard is located in the Watervale subregion which is home to some of the Clare Valley’s most recognised Riesling vineyards. It sits predominantly on fertile red loam soils over calcium calcrete with large pockets of slate scattered throughout. At 450 to 500 metres above sea level, the vineyard often experiences quite dramatic diurnal temperature shifts in summer, leading to the retention of strong natural acids and the development of classic citrus and floral flavours.

From such special terroir, Knappstein wines have translated into being winners. Having received some of the highest praise in the form of 5 stars in James Halliday’s annual wine guide and over 30 other prestigious wine awards, Knappstein pride themselves on being a small South Australia producer, making world class wines.

To kick off the Knappstein range, Dhall & Nash has focussed on the over-delivering and very approachably priced 2019 Knappstein Shiraz. Summed up by renowned wine writer Huon Hooke, in true Aussie lingo: “hmmm, that’s a beaut wine!” 

Recent Accolades:

“A lovely youthful appearance in the glass. Lifted and complex aromas of blood plums, spice, graphite, and anise. Full and richly-flavoured, black fruits, spice, and mint-chocolate. The tannins are firm and shape the wine nicely and the mouth-feel and length are impressive. A sleeper 2023–2036”

90/100 Points Aaron Brasher, The Real Review

“Beautiful and rich, with deep yet fresh, vibrant red and black fruits mingling with spice, vanilla and black olive tapenade.”

91/100 Points Decanter World Wine Awards

  • Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2021 (Gold)
  • JamesSuckling.com 2021 (92 Points)
  • Sam Kim / The Wine Orbit 2021 (93 Points)
  • Perth Royal Wine Show 2021 (Gold)
  • Langton’s Clare Valley Wine Show 2021 (Gold)
  • World’s Greatest Shiraz Wine Show 2021 / Winestate Magazine (98 Points)
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