Prager 2001: Back-Vintage Find

Posted by CrushWine

2001 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd
Magical Austrian Combination: Prager & 2001
Rare Back-Vintage Riesling for 20% Less than Original Price...

If I were to script the craziest "Friday Steal" I could think of, it'd probably look something like today's offer.

Seriously. I mean, aside from tripping over a pallet of 1971 Schloss Eltz Rauenthaler Baiken TBA at $75 a bottle, for me, this is about as good as it gets.

Today's "Friday Steal" deserves italics, boldface and ALL CAPS.

Why? Because today we combine two of my all-time favorite things: Prager and the 2001 vintage in Austria. And then, not a bad little extra, consider the fact that we can offer the bottle at about 20% below its initial offering price.

Back-vintage Austrians are hard enough to find - tracking down bottles from TOP vintages like 2001 and 1997 is darn near impossible. The Austrians themselves have the bad habit of guzzling down all their wines in the first six months and the international buyers tend to bury these wines deep in their cellars.

And for good reason: These wines age. The profound encounters we've had with older Austrians are too numerous to mention - even just the run-ins with glorious Pragers constitutes a sizable list: 2001 Wachstum Bodenstein at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago, a 1997 Achleiten at Cru in NYC...

The 2001 Prager Klaus is right now showing its strength with a sort of unapologetic bravado. The nose is tinged by honey and even caramel, yet on the palate it is a full-force gale of white-light-bright lemon pith, with a massive minerality, charcoal, salt and grapefruit. This wine is big, yet not an ounce of baby fat remains - this Riesling is chiseled, sinewy and sappy...and then there's that glorious acidity.

While the 01 Klaus is a lot of fun to drink now (open a few hours in advance and/or decant), it most certainly has a long life ahead of it. If you have space for the 6-pack, grab one and tuck a few bottles away - I'd say in 2-3 years this bottle will be in TOP form.

Toni Bodenstein has to be one of the most ruthless intellects of the Wachau and his wines show it; they are rock hard (which makes sense, chiseled as they are from the silly-steep slopes of the Wachau) and they show a purity of citrus and rock that would overwhelm most. The Klaus vineyard is one of the Wachau's best, a luxurious vineyard that sits directly under the Achleiten. Klaus is the Wachau's version of Montrachet whereas the Achleiten is Corton, the former is rich and gushing, the latter chiseled and mineral.

All good things - especially when they are Austrian and from the 2001 vintage - come to an end. This is a single parcel, it is in stock, but it is likely to disappear quickly. To order, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Stephen Bitterolf
Joe Salamone
Wine Buyers
Crush Wine & Spirits

2001 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd (Dry)