Riesling at 1,500 Feet -
Grüner at 15,000 Vines Per Hectare
Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd
& Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Stockkultur
Prager is one of our favorite producers anywhere. The wines are pure, precise and mineral.
Today, we focus on two of our favorites from Prager and two wines that may best capture this signature.
Prager's 2012s are really impressive. There is a sharp focus that belies the weight of concentration. The wines are intense rather than powerful.
In short, 2012 is a vintage that combines richness and concentration with an acid spine and elegance. Prager's fine, precise style allowed the intensity, the enveloping nature of the vintage to strut without going off the deep end. Everything here feels saturating, mineral and harmonious.
To focus on the specific wines, "Wachstum Bodenstein" is Prager’s top Riesling. 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.
Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein was one of the first wines to really showcase the free-thinking, experimental and provocative side of Toni Bodenstein. Planted in 1990 in a high-altitude section of the Hinterseiber vineyard (literally bordering the forest at the top of the mountain), this was planted at an altitude of about 1,500 feet (between 440-460 meters). Many people doubted that the vineyard would be able to fully ripen Riesling. Over 10 years later, time has proven Bodenstein right: the vineyard produces incredibly elegant and mineral wines.
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. In 2012, Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein delivers very precise stone fruits, citrus and tons of slatey minerality that carries through to the long, super-elegant finish.
Stockkultur is sourced from a tiny .3 hectare plot with a small cadre of 70-year-old vines, quite high within the Achleiten vineyard, which is one of Austria's best sites. The word "Stockkultur" refers to the way the vines are trained, a single vine with four shoots. This is the traditional way vines were cultivated before the 1950s and it results in incredible vineyard densities - 15,000 vines per hectare!
Prager's Stockkultur is easily one of the most detailed and finest Grüners on the planet. It combines power, perfume and a wildly complex minerality with a beautiful clarity and finesse.
2012 Stockkultur is palate-saturating with ridiculous length and yet still filigreed and haunting.
Simply put, Prager is one of the most skilled and fascinating winemakers we know. And it shows in the wines - they are epic.
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