Austria at 1,500 Feet: 2011 Prager Bodenstein

Posted by Joe Salamone

Austria at 1,500 Feet
2011 Prager Riesling
Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd

In 1990 when Prager's Toni Bodenstein planted a vineyard at 1,500 feet altitude, his neighbors thought he was crazy, that Riesling would never ripen there.

Twenty years later, his wisdom is clear.

Year in and year out, it's one of the most elegant and mineral wines of Austria, a peer of the noble Kellerberg and Steinertal.

What makes Prager's high altitude Bodenstein stand out is the level of snap and the balance it can achieve. There's no getting around that things have warmed up in the Wachau in the past couple of decades. The vineyard's high altitude endows it with a unique verve, minerality and finesse.

Prager's Riesling "Wachstum Bodenstein" is his top Riesling, but in 2011 it really stands out in his collection (and beyond) for its tension, for its brightness and agility.

Prager is one of our favorite producers anywhere. The wines are pure, precise and mineral. They are intense rather than powerful, with a weight of concentration that is belied by the sharp focus of the wines. In many ways, the Bodenstein site is the epitome of this style.

The 2011 vintage in Austria produced wines with a generous layer of pure fruit.To this, Prager's Riesling Bodenstein adds an energy and discipline. In the context of the vintage, the Bodenstein really stands out for it's acid backbone, its currents of citrus and its bright florality. The streak of acidity carries to a long tapering mineral finish.

We will spare you our long lines of adoration for Toni Bodenstein - for his scholarship, the integrity and thoughtfulness of his winemaking, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. There are so many elements to Bodenstein - his re-cultivating of some of the Wachau's greatest terroirs, his belief in clonal diversity, his passion for the complex geologies of Austria. (Don't want to be spared such lines of adoration? Click here.)

Simply put, Prager is one of the most skilled and fascinating winemakers we know. And it shows in the wines - they are pristine.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2011 Prager Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd