Der Schwaben Meister
The first time I met Andi was at the popular Greenpoint eatery Glasserie with his importer Guilhaume Gerard of Selection Massale Imports. Shy at first, and a bit like a fish out of water, Andi sat quietly and observed how the rest of Brooklyn fraternized. We did not drink any of his wines that evening, and while the others were engaged in passionate debates about volatile acidity and brettanomyces, refreshingly Andi refrained from critiquing the wines. A humble man who seemed like he loved his work, and preferred to be on the vineyard rather than talking about his own wines. A winemaker who is continuously looking to improve upon his work, Andi is the real deal. Several bottles of wine later, Andi had left his bashful shell and the rest was a blur. I have been a passionate supporter of his wines long before I met him and now let me tell you why.
From the deep southwest of Germany in the Remstal, Andi Knauß comes from a family of winemakers. His father had made a break from the local co-op in 1995, and upon finishing wine school and internships in Austria, young Andi took over the reins. He has been building the winery by purchasing rows and vineyards all over the village (Strumpfelbach). He now harvests grapes from about a 100 different plots. The soils are comprised of a variety of Jurassic limestone with Gipskeuper, Schilf, and Kieselsandstein being the most abundant, while most of the wineries in the village date back to the 1500s.
The climate is continental, with cold winters and long warm summers. The soils are worked as naturally as possible, and chemicals are eschewed in favor of natural treatments. Andi’s vineyards are very much alive and are spread across the neighborhood like Burgundy sized parcels. His work in the cellar is done with the same philosophy, spontaneous fermentations, gravity instead of pumps, and minimal use of sulphur. His Riesling vines are planted on the western side of the Rems Valley. Red varieties such as Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Trollinger and Merlot are planted on the east side of the valley. The greater area around Württemberg is often referred to as Swabia, and like most other regions, has its share of mediocrity. Andi’s (Der Schwaben Meister) wines are a few steps above the mob. We at Slope Cellars could not be more thrilled to drink them and we encourage you to do the same.
Hyper and refreshing, this German expression of Schiava from Andi Knauss is the very reason children get into mischief, to derive an innocent sense of pleasure. In this case however, it is permitted and to the tune of 1000ml. Pure and transparent, this wine sanctifies the mouth with an explosion of raspberry fruit, and the cleansing feel of being lashed under a cascading waterfall. Serve with a slight chill, and try not to get into mischief. DM.
Red | Organic | $17.99
No sugar and no sulphur from his best Trollinger vineyard is what Andi decided. The result is what Andi called ‘Without All’. Keeping with the freshness and purity of fruit we have come to expect from Andi’s wines, the Without All is a marvel in itself. Dark fruited and floral, with no sign of reduction, and cleansing acidity, it offers instant gratification. People often compare Trollinger to Poulsard which is understandable. Ethereal, pretty with an indescribable bitterness, and lets not forget the physical proximity. These days as I taste natural poulsards, I often find myself thinking about refreshing cascading waterfalls. DM.
Red | Natural | $24.99
Independent and terroir driven winemaking is resiliently standing its ground in Chile. In a country, where wine production is run almost entirely by large industrial wineries, native Burgundian Louis-Antoine Luyt and his pipeño are changing the status quo. As a young man who was keen on seeing the world, a three month trip to South America to brush up his Spanish was the perfect catalyst. Enrolling to become a sommelier, L.A quickly realized that there was a dull and uniform element to winemaking in Chile, and was curious if this was the result of winemaking or place. Chile was never struck with phylloxera, and through extensive research found that independent parcels did exist with some of the vines as old as 300 years. One harvest later in France with Phillipe Pacalet, and upon finishing oenology school in Beaune, L.A met the late Marcel Lapierre and was introduced to natural wines. Inspired and full of hope, he returned to Chile and Clos Ouvert was born. Based on a négociant model, the goal was to promote fair trade by buying organic grapes from local peasants. The project was in jeopardy after the earthquke of 2010, but L.A was determined to stay afloat and continues to make blends and a carmenere under the Ouvert name. Fascinated with the local grape país, L.A also makes a few parcel-specific wines that are bottled under his name.
Recently in New York for the Louis Dressner tasting, I had the privilege of tasting his new cuvées and yes, they are brilliant. Vinifications are done without added yeasts and additives. This is organic viticulture at its finest and we will do our best to keep these wines in stock.
100% País, the Coelemu is a single parcel that is owned by Ana Maria Amadori. The vines range from 100-250 years old. The Vineyard is dry farmed on granite clay with low yields. The grapes are hand harvested and foot trodden. With aromas of wild flowers, this succulent and pretty liter with supple tannins is a great way to start Thanksgiving. Serve with a slight chill.
180 year old País vines on clay and decomposed granite. Meaty, with smoked herbs and earth, this dark and dense expression of Pàis is a great alternative to those looking for a Cabernet Franc-like wine from Chile. Santé!