Robert Parker 94P
The 2015 Riesling Smaragd Achleiten displays a pure and mineral bouquet of crushed stones and white-peach aromas. Intense and fruity on the palate, with good concentration and densely woven texture, this is a piquant and spicy flavored Riesling with great intensity and ripeness.
I have still a lot of 2015s to taste but Toni Bodenstein's collection of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner Smaragds set the benchmark. There are world class wines amongst them, true classics of which we will still sing in 20 or 30 years. Weingut Prager has probably bottled the finest Achleiten Veltliners I have ever tasted. Check out the Smaragd and the Smaragd Stockkultur. Have there been greater Veltliners been bottled in the past 16 years? On the same level is the Veltliner Smaragd Zwerithaler Kammer from a .34 hectare plot from before World War I. It has been launched for the first time at Weingut Prager. Also don't miss the 2015 GV Smaragd Wachstum Bodenstein. Amongst the Rieslings Ried Klaus rules, accompanied from the Achleiten. In fact there are so many wines to buy from Prager this year that you need a big wallet and a great heart for Grüner Veltliner and Austrian Riesling. Whereas the 2014s did not speak to me when I tasted them in winter the 2015s were singing when I tasted them in April – and they are still doing.
"In 2015 we had three weeks of intense drought and heat which forced us to reduce the yields," sys Bodenstein. "End of August we had 21 millimeters of rain which was absolutely welcome. The strong summer heat caused loose grapes with thick berry skins, so there was no danger of rot. The biggest challenge was keeping the acidity. I tried to harvest quick because the total acidity of both Riesling and Veltliner was one gram below the TA of 2014. I also did not want overripe grapes, so we finished the harvest by end of October. We picked ripe grapes with a high proportion of tartaric acid whereas the malic acid had been evaporated by the heat. Our Federspiel selections have an alcohol level of 12.5%, the Smaragd wines are betrween 13 and 13.5% alcohol. I did not want to push the ripeness further forward like we did in the 1990s. Today it is not important anymore to be the last producer harvesting. It is much more important to pick in the right moment and, in 2015, before the rain and the spreading of rot." "High altitude vineyards like the Achleiten, the Klaus and Wachstum Bodensein which are located in 400 to 460 meters above sea level, were trump in 2015. The Veltliners have more freshness and a fruity expression. All in all we a very happy with the resulting wines."