You can’t really call it a vineyard, [it's] more like a hospital ward! - 01 Prager Gruner Veltliner Zwerithaler Smaragd

Posted by Joe Salamone

Crazy Cellar Find - Grüner Edition
2001 Prager Grüner Veltliner
Zwerithaler Smaragd
Bought on Release and Stored Perfectly

Not so long ago, we hit a treasure trove: a cellar with good quantities of 01 Prager with perfect provenance.

For me, this was a huge find.

2001 is one of the greatest vintages in Austria of the last two decades. And Prager just nailed it with his 2001 collection.

Prager's 2001s are something of a legend. A bottle of 2001 Prager Bodenstein at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago some years ago caused mystical visions. It's a wine we still talk about.

What makes 2001 such an amazing vintage for Austria (and Prager in particular) is the combination of concentration and purity. The wines are shimmering - they are luminous sculptures dusted with citrus zest and pulverized rock.

In previous emails, we've focused on Prager's Rieslings from 2001. Today, we focus on his Grüner Veltliner Smaragd from the Zwerithaler vineyard. The 2001 vintage was very kind to Grüner endowing it with a purity of fruit and currents of bright citrus and an undertow of minerals.

Prager's 01 Grüner Zwerithaler drives home just how pure, how finely tuned the 01 vintage is. Zwerithaler is a site of very old vines, planted in 1947. Toni Bodenstein, who was drawn to the site by the diversity of the Grüner clones planted there, is quoted as saying, "You can’t really call it a vineyard, [it's] more like a hospital ward!"

Zwerithaler often produces rich Grüners coated with dense fruits and infused with rafts of smoke. In 2001, the site delivers these characteristics with stunning elegance, poise and clarity. The apricot fruit has a piercing brightness to it and the backdrop of herbs, smoke and minerals add a dynamic sense of complexity. Overall, this is a Grüner that feels well composed, more than adequately disciplined.

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.

For 01 Prager, at these prices, this is not to be missed. 01 Zwerithaler is in a very good place right now, but have no worries about holding it for another three or five years.

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

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits