Weingut Emmerich Knoll

The Story

When well-versed wine aficionados speak of the very best producers in Austria, Knoll is often mentioned in their first breath. Emmerich Knoll, a third generation vigneron, took over from his father (another Emmerich) and hardly missed a beat along the way. The wines at this estate speak of a place as much as any wine in the world, not only in terroir but in style. They are unique in expression and unfold slowly in the glass to reveal extraordinary complexities that can take you to flavors and aromas that feel like you are tasting something of great tradition with modern refinement. They are unarguably some of the best wines made in the world and once you’ve had one, especially with that label, it is impossible to forget them.

Lay of the Land

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Austria’s Wachau gorge is home to arguably the most prestigious winegrowing region in the country, and its most visually stunning. The eastern border is west of Vienna by about an hour drive and begins in a town called Unterloiben. It runs through the river gorge thirteen or so kilometers ending in Spitz, a town that marks the far western end of the winegrowing areas along the river.

Though one of the coolest winegrowing regions in Austria (not only in temperature, but also in vibe), the Wachau is located in an area strongly affected by opposing climatic influences. Warm Pannonian winds move in from the east and collide with colder Atlantic and Alpine winds insulated by the wilderness surrounding the gorge, which creates a tug-of-war of extremes between day and nighttime temperatures during the summer and fall. Much less than in the past, before the hydroelectric dams were installed and slowed its vigorous pace, the Danube River regulates temperatures and mitigates some risk of spring frost. Knoll’s vineyards are all located on the far eastern end of the Wachau gorge in its most warm zone, however still considered a cold climate wine region.

On the steeply terraced hills principally composed of Gföhler gneiss (orthogneiss) and other ancient igneous and metamorphic bedrock formations with a thin, gravelly decomposition of the bedrock itself is the kind of stressful environment where Riesling thrives best. By contrast, Austria’s most popular (and common) white wine grape, Gruner Veltliner, typically grows lower down the slopes on more löss (also spelled loess, or löess) dominated soils mixed with river sand and alluvium. Grüner Veltliner needs to be coddled to find its glory, and the nutrient rich and high water retentive qualities of löss are perfect.

Weingut Emmerich Knoll - 2016 Riesling, Ried Kellerberg, Smaragd

Price: $74.00
Size: 750ml

Out of stock

Type of Wine: White
Grape(s): Riesling
Style: Mineral, Medium Body


Terroir: Regal and profound in nearly every aspect from structural elements to the balance of power and subtlety, this wine has no notable weakness. The hill faces south to southeast. It’s exposed to an open ravine that brings in a rush of cool air during the night and also allows the fruit to mature to ripeness without giving it excessive fruitiness. Knoll’s parcel is located in the easternmost part of the vineyard with and east/southeast exposition in an old vine section toward the bottom of the valley. The topsoil is on average a mix of gneiss (75%) and loess (25%) on gneiss bedrock; gneiss brings tension and focus and loess more rounded and soft elements. Kellerberg has the youngest average vines of Knoll’s Smaragd vineyards.

Vinification: Smaragd Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings are treated more or less the same in the vinification. Grapes are hand harvested, then crushed to break all the berries and macerated with stems for 1-8 hours (rarely longer); considerations are based on the season, grape temperature and logistic needs in the winery. The grapes are not gently pressed/handled in order to encourage the extraction of more phenolic compounds. The juice is settled overnight, racked off the heavy sediments to another tank or large foudre (1000l-4500l). Fermentations last 7-10 days and are either spontaneous (≈20%) or with cultured neutral yeast (≈80%)—temps between 24-27°C. The first sulfite addition is made a week or more after fermentations are complete, usually at the first racking. Malolactic fermentation is not desired and rarely happens.

Aging: Aged on fine lees for about 7-8 months without bâtonnage. Smaragd wines have more or less the same percentage of wood: Grüner Veltliner in 80% large foudre/20% stainless steel and Riesling in 40-50% large foudre (1000l-4500l) and the difference in stainless steel. The oldest foudres are from the late 1950s and get replaced when needed. Grüner is fined and filtered. Riesling is not fined but filtered.

(Subjective and based on young wines)


Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:




Wood Presence:


The Vineyard


A mix of metamorphic bedrock of orthogneiss and to a lesser degree loess, a wind deposited fine-grained sedimentary soil with some quantity of calcium carbonate.


SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist



Vine Age:

Oldest planted in 1991 and some are as young as 10 or so years (2019)

Altitude (meters):





Extremely Steep (up to 65%)
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfur Dioxide

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh


12.5 - 13.50



Titratable Acidity:


Residual Sugar:


Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Emmerich Knoll with some technical references from Vinea-Wachau.at