It’s been a while between offers with the Bodenstein family of Weingut Prager, so we’re especially delighted to bring you this varied offering from 2020.
Prager is renowned as one of the fab four families of the Wachau, along with Emmerich Knoll, Franz Hirtzberger and F.X. Pichler. There is almost nothing that divides these families in terms of the greatness of vineyard holdings or wines.
But Prager, known for its incredible finesse, is based in Weissenkirchen, home to the Achleiten and Klaus vineyards. The former is generally regarded as the most minerally distinct site of the Danube Valley; the latter is a tremendous place for coolly opulent Riesling.
On top of this, Prager’s distinction is the unique Wachstum Bodenstein plantings of Grüner and Riesling, situated at 440 to 460m on the top of the Hinterseiber vineyard. The slow-ripening site breeds wines of insanely subtle depth – and it’s also a shrine to biodiversity. The Riesling parcels alone host 15 different types sourced from the Wachau as well as Germany’s Rheingau, Mosel and Pfalz, and France’s Alsace.
“From rock to wine” is the motto of this 16.5-hectare estate founded by Franz Prager. Now run by his daughter Ilse and former biologist husband Toni Bodenstein, it espouses this motto in everything it does. With third-generation Robert Bodenstein helping to take it forwards, the family’s mission is to grow outstanding wines that mirror the unique qualities of the vineyards from which they come.
It’s our pleasure to let you judge their success for yourself.
Grüner Veltliner is the most widely planted grape variety in Austria. The Hinter der Burg (“behind the castle”) vineyard, overlooking the Danube river west of Vienna is rich in ‘primary rock’ such as schist, gneiss and granite. This is a delightfully powerful Grüner, all grapefruit, lime and spices, with a soaring mineral backbone. Winemaker Toni Bodenstein uses only stainless steel in the winery, aiming to preserve the very specific terroir of the Wachau.
Electric Grüner. Flinty, smoky, all the crushed rock and mouth-watering citrus acidity. Tight and bony, radish spiciness, grapefruit and lime zest, crunch and energy on a long and cool finish. Pure, driven, with a Riesling-like intensity, but the pleasing vegetal varietal spicy and bitter bits of this variety.94 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Achleiten is a legendary vineyard in the Wachau village of Weissenkirchen. It’s famous for wines with an inimitable mineral character. Dry stone walls dating back to the 12th century, which mount the steep slopes with their silicate-rich soil, dominate this vineyard’s landscape. In the upper terraces, gneiss is the prevailing subsoil, the lower terraces are dominated by dark, schistous amphibolites.
The vines for Prager Grüner Veltliner Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd were planted in 1990 in a high-altitude section of the Hinterseiber vineyard (literally bordering the forest at the top of the mountain), at an altitude of 440 to 460m. A couple of decades later, not only does the vineyard produce incredibly elegant and mineral wines, but while others have problems with over-ripening, the Bodenstein wines, even in hot vintages like 2003 and 2006, are balanced and elegant. Anytime you see the “Bodenstein” moniker, you should know that one of the points of the wine is to showcase genetic diversity.
Federspiel signifies a purely Wachau wine, fermented dry naturally between 11.5% and 12.5% alcohol. Steinriegl is the name of the vineyard sourced for this wine. It’s a 12-acre site at an altitude of around 300m on calcareous, rocky and silty-loam soils. The wine is fermented and matured in stainless steel to deliver an utterly pure, clean, fragrant expression of its origin.
Powerful dry Riesling here. Stone dust, minerally feel, grapefruit and lime, green herb and spice, subtle kiwifruit and guava character, citrus zest and layers of flavour and firm dusty texture, a bit juicy, but so controlled. And very long, with a cinch of quinine to close. Magnificent.95+ points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Prager Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd is a wine that really showcases 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 between 440 and 460m. Many people doubted that the vineyard would be able to fully ripen Riesling. Over 30 years later, not only does the vineyard produce incredibly elegant and mineral wines, but while others have problems with over-ripening, the Bodenstein wines, even in hot vintages like 2003 and 2006, are balanced and elegant.
Anytime you see the “Bodenstein” moniker, you should know that one of the points of the wine is to showcase genetic diversity. Bodenstein planted the vineyard with 15 different types of Riesling sourced from the Wachau as well as Germany’s Rheingau, Mosel and Pfalz and France’s Alsace. This is, year in and year out, one of the top Rieslings from Austria.
Kiwifruit, pink grapefruit, spice and green herbs. It’s powerful, and also quite exotic, juicy and chalky, a subtle savoury cheese twist character, slightly bitter quinine flavour, waxy but tight, with a very long finish laden with pith, lime zest and grip, and tingly acidity, and a celery crunch. X-Factor here. A little something that lifts it up and above.96 points. Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
The Klaus vineyard is one of the Wachau’s best, a luxurious vineyard that sits on steep slopes directly under the Achleiten. We’d call Klaus the Wachau’s version of Montrachet, whereas the Achleiten is like Corton-Charlemagne; the former is rich and gushing, the latter chiselled and mineral.