Knipser, Chardonnay trocken ***, 2003

Knipser, Chardonnay trocken ***, 2003

Knipser is the name of a wine making family from the Pfalz region of Germany who keep impressing us with their polished and tasty wines. They are widely known for their expertise in ageing wine in barrique barrels - red wine, of course, but also white. The other day when I was cooking tarragon cream chicken I felt the time had come to open their premier 2003 Chardonnay, a wine that was only released to market after several years of maturing in the Knipser cellars.

What I was expecting, of course, was a substantial (14% ABV and barrique), creamy wine with the first signs of age. What I was hoping for was that it also kept a hint of freshness to go along with the food.

What I found was a wine whose intense citrus-gold colour was more than a match for the beauty of the bottle - a design that is quite different from the usual Knipser label and colour scheme, by the way.

The nose was an intriguing mix of honey melon, citrus, really dusty mineral, wax, herbs and caramelised lime, plus smoky notes. It was smooth and deep, yet at the same time also had great freshness - not sharp, but polished.

On the tongue the Chardonnay managed to keep an impressive balance between creaminess and freshness. A good body, clear structure and refreshing acidity are brought together by a buttery creaminess with nutty elements and fine minerality. The finish too was both creamy and fresh; it coated the whole mouth with buttery 'Behaglichkeit' ('snugness' perhaps?) while still being lively. The wine felt much younger than its age would indicate.

This Auslese-quality wine is to me the perfect example of a marriage between creamy/full-body and light/refreshing. I don't think I will ever again be able to say something about bad application of barrique ageing to white wine without thinking of the Knipser Chardonnay as an example of how well it can be done. My compliments to the Knipsers!


Submitted by Alex Wednesday, 08/12/2010

Nice! This reminds me of an excellent "aged" Knipser Chardonnay and Weissburgunder I once had. Despite its 9 years of age it was excellent and a genuine ebay finding! I'd never expected that bottle to beat my expectations, but it did! Check . Best, Alex

Submitted by torsten Thursday, 09/12/2010

In reply to by Alex

That sounds good, have never tried that particular blend from Knipser. I wish I could get access to the German ebay from the UK - here they don't sell wine at all and German sellers on ebay don't seem to ship to the UK. Probably also duty and tax issues...

Submitted by Julian Thursday, 09/12/2010

Like the corkscrew photo!

Submitted by Sabine Saturday, 11/12/2010

In reply to by Julian

WE like the corkscrew photo!

Submitted by torsten Sunday, 12/12/2010

In reply to by Sabine

When I saw the cork coming out like this I could not resist...

Submitted by Barry Thursday, 09/12/2010

Hi Torsten...

I can only notes from March 2009

The Chardonnay was only released in May 2008. It's always great to have an 'exciting' wine....and the main reason here is that this is not like the most Chardonnays. Gold in colour...with a gorgeous mild honey smell..soft toasty..and a touch of grapefruit....the oak only the palate..this is 'spriteley' lip-smearing oak..perfect balance..ripe, sweet fruit..and..what really impresses..minerals galore. What makes this so different..and it is meant as a compliment..this is a Chardonnay made in a Riesling style..does that help to understand what I mean?...a good finish...and you have a wine to enjoy now..but it will hold nicely for 3-4 years.
17.75 / 20

Submitted by torsten Thursday, 09/12/2010

In reply to by Barry

Thank you for your comment, Barry - it is interesting to compare these notes, especially when there is a little time between them. I really like the phrase "Chardonnay made in a Riesling style", great description.