Winery

Karl Schnabel

Karl Schnabel is an exceptional Styrian winemaker. With his wife Eva, he produces purist natural wines on barren slate soils that taste - as he says himself - jazz-like, focused and vertical. For us: Styrian Burgundy.

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"All our natural wines are fermented grape juice, nothing else."

– Karl Schnabel

Type
Wine Style
Price
Character
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Koregg Blaufränkisch 2020

winestyle-img Fine & Layered
Mineral
Like the idea of a wet stone: sometimes cool, salty, slightly smoky and mostly a tight, grippy texture on the palate. Rather a mouthfeel than aromatics.
Fruity
Like a fruit basket of fresh fruit: From citrus to peach, apple, pear, to cherry, raspberry or plum.
Earthy
Like an energy bursting forest floor with aromas of mushrooms, moss, root vegetables but also dried aromas.
Elegant
342,00 kr
456,00 kr/L

Hochegg Morillon 2021

winestyle-img Fine & Layered
Fruity
Like a fruit basket of fresh fruit: From citrus to peach, apple, pear, to cherry, raspberry or plum.
Spicy
Like an embrace of strong, warmer aromas from pepper to coriander, cloves, vanilla to tobacco and leather.
Mineral
Like the idea of a wet stone: sometimes cool, salty, slightly smoky and mostly a tight, grippy texture on the palate. Rather a mouthfeel than aromatics.
Fine-meshed, Complex
335,00 kr
446,67 kr/L

Legionär Sauvignon Blanc 2021

winestyle-img Fine & Layered
Spicy
Like an embrace of strong, warmer aromas from pepper to coriander, cloves, vanilla to tobacco and leather.
Fruity
Like a fruit basket of fresh fruit: From citrus to peach, apple, pear, to cherry, raspberry or plum.
Mineral
Like the idea of a wet stone: sometimes cool, salty, slightly smoky and mostly a tight, grippy texture on the palate. Rather a mouthfeel than aromatics.
Complex
335,00 kr
446,67 kr/L
Sold out

Legionärin Sauvignon Blanc 2021

winestyle-img Fine & Layered
Mineral
Like the idea of a wet stone: sometimes cool, salty, slightly smoky and mostly a tight, grippy texture on the palate. Rather a mouthfeel than aromatics.
Fruity
Like a fruit basket of fresh fruit: From citrus to peach, apple, pear, to cherry, raspberry or plum.
Elegant,Lively
251,00 kr
334,67 kr/L
Sold out
Sold out

Get to know: Karl Schnabel

Normal price 1.011,00 kr Special Price 914,00 kr

From the South Styrian Demmerkogel to Burgundy and back again

Eva and Karl Schnabel are two originals. When we visited the likeable Styrians, it became immediately clear to us that this is not about any trends, but about uncompromising sustainability, conscious consumption and, above all, honesty with wine as a cultural asset.

Eva studied economics and Karl agricultural economics, after which they went to Burgundy for two years. Inspired by the practices they learned and their shared love for Pinot Noir, they decided to reactivate their parents' 5ha vineyard on the Demmerkogel in the Sausal and, quite contrary to the Styrian trend, to plant mainly red wine varieties such as Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch and Pinot Noir.

"Jazz-like", says Karl, not as broad-shouldered as wines from limestone, but more filigree and focused.

The barren soils on the plots Hoch-, Kor- and Kreuzegg consist of siliceous primary rock, which is in the form of slate - i.e. free of limestone, because the mountain of Sausal was higher than the primordial sea back then. The red-brown coloured slate with iron inclusions gives the wines a vertical depth and almost vibrating precision.

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Karl Schnabel's natural wines are purist ambassadors of their terroir

At the Ermihof, no compromises are made, the way Eva & Karl make wine is extreme, a lot of muscle power and even more heart and soul, and you can taste this passion with every sip. As a Demeter-certified member of the S.A.I.N.S association, they work according to strict biodynamic guidelines and don't use any additives in the cellar or in the vineyard - respectfully, the vines have not seen any chemicals since they were planted in 2000 at all. Their cows, iconically illustrated on the labels, come to their aid for composting and fertilizing the soil, and the vines are strengthened with home-brewed infusions from nettles, horsetail and yarrow.

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The Schnabels harvest physiologically ripe at the beginning of October to mid-October, which sounds late at first, but due to an open fermentation and a manual pigeage, the alcohol evaporates somewhat faster and the wines develop an elegant 12 -13% paired with a ripe, full aroma. In the cellar, the natural wines are matured in used barriques from Latour - followed by 12 to 24 months of elevage. Natural wines in their purest form: expressively open and approachable, vibrant, lively and at the same time incredibly elegant.

In the meantime, the Schnabels have developed an impressive signature that proves that Styria is not only considered a white wine stronghold, but can also really deliver with the reds - we hereby declare the Styrian Burgundy!

Interview with Karl Schnabel

In our conversation, Karl Schnabel once again demonstrated his uncompromising attitude and honesty in dealing with wine as a cultural asset. The interview with Karl is an adapted version of a long and very revealing phone call.

You both went to Burgundy for two years in the 90s to deepen your understanding of wine. What insights or inspirations had a lasting impact on you that are practised at Ermihof today?

Karl Schnabel: The experiences in Burgundy were very important for us. In the 70s, modern thinking began to include technological advances and such. If we hadn't spent time in Burgundy, we might have practised viticulture according to predefined guidelines, such as those practised in Klosterneuburg and Geisenheim. But in Burgundy we developed the awareness that in the end it is all about the grapes. The French have never lost the foundation of the old traditions in agriculture. This realisation has strengthened us and steered us in the right direction.

Of course, in Burgundy, conventional methods were also used in the vineyard to some extent. But what made a lasting impression on me was the vinification in the cellar, where there was no intervention whatsoever. There, manual pigeages were carried out in huge fermentation tanks. This process had a deep impact on me and is still an important inspiration for us at Ermihof today.

What makes a great wine for you? Or what is important to you personally in a wine?

Karl Schnabel: You can't argue about taste, that's totally subjective. Wine should be wholesome and sustainably produced.

For me personally, there are 3 pillars: Taste, digestibility, production (sustainability).

Does climate change have an influence on your viticulture and does this also change things in your work?

Karl Schnabel: We are fans of physiological ripeness and harvest relatively late because of the altitude and the climate - in that sense it doesn't bother me, but what does bother me is the unpredictability. There was no late frost in Styria, then it came suddenly in 2016, which surprised us enormously and caught us off guard. The climate is becoming more unpredictable. Basically, climate change actually strengthens my viticulture.

What prompted you and Eva to go in the direction of organic / biodynamic / natural wine?

Karl Schnabel: We were never conventional, my father has always worked organically, he would never have said that on his own, but we have always worked that way. At Ermihof, there have always been animals in the vineyard, so the circular economy was also a given. We did not have to convert, we have always worked organically / biodynamically.

Are there any lessons or insights regarding winemaking or the wine business that you wish you'd had at the beginning of your career?

Karl Schnabel: We have never followed trends and have always gone our own way. But I realised early on that lemonade wines are not the non plus ultra. People always talk about origin, whether it's Sauvignon from New Zealand or South Africa, it all tastes the same.

As far as the business is concerned, we were a bit naïve at the beginning. Many people try to exploit the natural wine scene. Basically, I would say that we are on the right track. Back then, I was named the exceptional winemaker by Gault Millau, the question was then where I see myself in 10 years. In 10 years, my wish is that we are all in the same boat again and dedicate ourselves together to the cultural asset of wine by going in the same direction together and ensuring that all wines are produced at a high level.

Dear Karl, thank you very much for the interview!