Riesling Smaragd Klaus 2015
When Franz Prager co-founded the Vinea Wachau in 1983, he had already established a reputation as one of Austria’s best winemakers. The marriage of Franz’s daughter, Ilse, to Dr. Toni Bodenstein in the 1990s was the catalyst for sweeping renaissance at the winery. Bodenstein, a biologist, geologist and historian, spent years studying the geology of the region and focused much of his attention on preserving genetic diversity. His “Arche Noah” project, a planting of old Grüner Veltliner and Riesling clones is the result of his work. Bodenstein’s scholarly approach, passion for biodiversity, and brilliant winemaking has elevated Prager to the highest echelon of Austrian wine producers.These may well be the oldest vines in existence in the Wachau, planted in 1938. The Bodensteins acquired this vineyard and released their first wine from here in 2005. Single stalk trained, “Stockkultur”, in the old style, because these terraces are uneven and would never allow for a wire trained system anyway. Maintaining and repairing these old stake trained vines is a labor of love. In this wine are the complex aromas and deep savory characteristics only found in vines decades old planted to these infertile soils.
About the Vineyard
The vineyard Klaus is adjacent to Achleiten, separated by a path and a shrine to the Patron saint of wine -- St. Urban-- placed there hundreds of years ago by Cisterian monks. The shrine is to honor the cru and the path is there to mark the change in the soil from one vineyard site to another. The Bodensteins hold very old Riesling vines in Klaus, planted in 1952, from which comes a wine that Toni describes as “not a charming Riesling” with a wink in his eye. Often forbidding when young this might be the most powerful Riesling in the bunch.