Franz Prager, co-founder of the Vinea Wachau, had already earned a reputation for his wines when Toni Bodenstein married into the family. Bodenstein’s passion for biodiversity and old terraces, coupled with brilliant winemaking, places Prager in the highest echelon of Austrian producers.
Smaragd is a designation of ripeness for dry wines used exclusively by members of the Vinea Wachau. The wines must have minimum alcohol of 12.5%. The grapes are hand-harvested, typically in October and November, and are sent directly to press where they spontaneously ferment in stainless-steel tanks.
Klaus sits adjacent to Achleiten and is one of the Wachau’s most famous vineyards for Riesling. The vineyard is incredibly steep with a gradient of 77% at its steepest point. The southeast-facing terraced vineyard of dark migmatite-amphibolite and paragneiss produces a tightly wound and powerful wine. The parcel belonging to Toni Bodenstein was planted in 1952.
Austrian Riesling is often defined by elevated levels of dry extract thanks to a lengthy ripening period and freshness due to dramatic temperature swings between day and night. “Klaus is not a charming Riesling,” says Toni Bodenstein with a wink. Klaus is Prager’s most assertive and robust Riesling.
Riesling’s high acidity makes it one of the most versatile wines at the table. Riesling can be used to cut the fattiness of foods such as pork or sausages and can tame some saltiness. Conversely, it can highlight foods such as fish or vegetables in the same way a squeeze of lemon or a vinaigrette might.