As Good As It Gets: Prager + '01
2001 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd
The Only Bottles in the Country... and at Release Pricing
Today we combine two of my all-time favorite things: Prager and the 2001 vintage in Austria.
Seriously, for me, this is about as good as it gets. Toni Bodenstein at Weingut Prager is a terroir-fanatic; his wines are always among the most nuanced, pure, and precise in all of Austria. And 2001 was simply phenomenal in the Wachau. The more I drink these wines, the more I realize how special they are.
This is what has to be considered a final parcel. All of these bottles were bought on release, direct from the estate and cellared perfectly in Austria until their impending fall arrival.
Back-vintage Austrians are getting harder and harder to find. Tracking down bottles from TOP vintages like 2001 and 1997 is near impossible. The Austrians themselves have the bad habit of guzzling down all their wines in the first six months and the international buyers who collect these wines tend to not want to sell them.
For good reason: The encounters we've had with older Austrians are profound - and the run-ins with glorious back-vintage Pragers stick out as some of the greatest: 2001 Wachstum Bodenstein at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, a 1997 Achleiten at Cru in NYC... these wines have been nothing less than REVELATIONS.
The 2001 Prager Klaus is - right now - showing all its strength with a sort of unapologetic bravado. The nose is laced with honey and even caramel, yet on the palate it is a full-force gale of white-light-bright lemon pith, with MASSIVE, muscular minerality, fascinating notes of charcoal, sea salt and grapefruit.
The Klaus vineyard is one of the Wachau's best, a luxurious vineyard that sits on steep slopes directly under the Achleiten. I'd call Klaus the Wachau's version of Montrachet, whereas the Achleiten is like Corton-Charlemagne; the former is rich and gushing, the latter chiseled and mineral.
This wine is broad-shouldered, yet there is not an ounce of baby fat remaining - this Riesling is chiseled, sinewy and sappy... and then, washing over it all there's that glorious, strong acidity, the glorious hallmark of the 2001 Austrians.
While the 01 Klaus is a lot of fun to drink now (open it a couple hours in advance and/or decant it for the full show), it most certainly has plenty of life ahead of it. Take down as much as you can - seriously. At this point we're the only store in the U.S. with any 2001 Prager and when this parcel is gone, well...
To order, email us at email@example.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Crush Wine & Spirits