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Showing 1–12 of 20 results

  • Emmerich Knoll Gruner Veltliner Ried Schutt Smaragd 2018

    £49.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Gruner Veltliner Vinothekfullung Smaragd 2018

    £67.99

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Selection 2018

    £54.99

    “The 2018 Steiner Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Selection is pure, fresh and herbal on the pure and flinty nose. On the palate, this is a round, rich and quite powerful Riesling with remarkable intensity, grip and mineral tension. The finish is long and complex and promises good aging potential. Tasted at the domain in September 2019. Drink: 2022-2034. 92 points

    2018 is better than we initially thought, if you like to summarize our findings in just one sentence,” says Emmerich Knoll senior, before we tasted through a lineup of the most recent vintage. “In spite of the dry weather and the early harvest, our wines are much less abundant and, due to their low acidity, less broad than, for example, the wines of the 2011 vintage,” which he describes as “above all powerful and broad-shouldered but neither fine nor elegant.” He concluded his commentary by diplomatically saying, “Okay, we wouldn’t have had anything against a little more acidity in 2018, but we don’t miss it either.” He also finds that even Grüner Veltliner doesn’t have phenolic acidity, and he’s not even sure that Riesling will be ahead in 2018. The response in the press and among customers is balanced with regard to this question, he reports. “Certainly, however, nobody would have thought that the Grüner Veltliner would at least be able to stand up to Riesling.” Knoll senior sees 2018 as similar to 2017 and, from the distance, to 2013 and 1992. Yet, unless asked, he does not tend to compare vintages anyway, since the character of the wine is more controlled in vinification today than in the past. In 2017, the weather changed earlier, at the end of August, but in 2018, it changed in September, in the middle of the harvest.

    At Knoll, the 2018 harvest began at the beginning of September, and it was “anything but simple, actually rather complicated,” says the senior Knoll. Rot problems had already set in at the end of August, and this made sharp selections necessary and forced rapid processing at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). At Knoll, too, the hot midday and afternoon hours were omitted. The mash was cooled and then went into fermentation clearer than usual, simply to prevent a too stormy fermentation. Also, the pressing process was much gentler than usual due to the rising pH values. “The harvest was large enough,” says Knoll pragmatically. The maceration times, if they took place at all, were also kept very short, even for the Gelber Muskateller, so as not to compromise its elegance and lightness. Emmy Knoll junior, who finished tasting with me, reported that in warm vintages such as 2018, it was important to slow down ripeness, especially for Grüner Veltliner, through higher yields. He was quite happy with the result, yet I wasn’t. To be honest, I was quite disappointed by Knoll’s Grüner Veltliners, which I found somewhat diluted and not expressive at all. Luckily, I tasted some of the Smaragd wines again in early December in a blind tasting in London, and I liked them much better then. However, I am still not convinced the Grüner Veltliners can compete with the Rieslings here in 2018. The future will reveal if I simply missed the right moment for these wines or if Knoll perhaps harvested too many Veltliner grapes in 2018. The vintage was generous by nature anyway. My favorites of the 2018 vintage are the Riesling Smaragd Ried Schütt (as it is almost all of the time, but especially in warm vintages because the winds coming down from the creek cool the grapes), the Riesling Smaragd Vinothekfüllung and the Loibner Muskateller Smaragd.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • F.X. Pichler Gruner Veltliner Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2012

    £84.95

    “The Pichlers’ 2012 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Kellerberg boasts a luscious pear and apple fruit fundament backed by a lush, glycerol-rich texture, with complementary overtones of honeysuckle and lily of the valley perfume. Yet for all of the richness my aforementioned description implies, this also boasts a remarkable sense of primary juiciness as well as lift, leading to a finish of refined, polished, succulent length, stimulatingly suffused with crushed stone and pungent Szechuan pepper. As another demonstration of how important is the character of an individual vineyard in ways that can’t be captured analytically, this wine is well over 14% in alcohol despite its buoyancy, whereas the corresponding Liebenberg at 13.5% reminds you of its alcohol and lacks levity. “One factor,” observes Lucas Pichler “is that Kellerberg is in the shadow after mid-afternoon while Liebenberg gets sun well into the evening.” Plan to follow this Kellerberg through at least 2025.Drink: 2014-2025. 94 points

    “In recent years,” notes Lucas Pichler, “we’ve been harvesting a little earlier in order to depress the alcohol levels a bit,” which in 2012 meant among other things beginning with Gruner Veltliner Federspiel already in the third week of September. After what I had tasted thus far of the vintage, I was amazed to find the Rieslings here in aggregate even finer than the Gruner Veltliners, a pattern that was to be dramatically accentuated at nearby Alzinger. (I did not get chance on my most recent visit to catch-up with Pichlers’ Sauvignon Blanc from this vintage.)”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (212)

    In Stock

  • F.X. Pichler Riesling Durnsteiner Kellerberg Smaragd 2012

    £84.95

    “The Pichlers’ 2012 Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg delivers an enormous concentration of lusciously rich, sweetly ripe white peach, Persian melon, grapefruit and pineapple, mingled with almond cream, blond tobacco and Szechuan pepper. Bittersweet iris perfume wafts throughout this magnificent performance, while the superbly sustained finish introduces a cyanic intensity of fruit pit whose bitterness is tamed and stimulatingly integrated thanks to sheer generosity of fruit and inner-mouth perfume. There were some shriveled berries here, notes Lucas Pichler, which no doubt contribute to the sense of opulence not to mention of sheer ripeness; yet there is only 13.5% alcohol. Plan to follow this beauty through at least 2025. Drink: 2014-2025. 95 points

    “In recent years,” notes Lucas Pichler, “we’ve been harvesting a little earlier in order to depress the alcohol levels a bit,” which in 2012 meant among other things beginning with Gruner Veltliner Federspiel already in the third week of September. After what I had tasted thus far of the vintage, I was amazed to find the Rieslings here in aggregate even finer than the Gruner Veltliners, a pattern that was to be dramatically accentuated at nearby Alzinger. (I did not get chance on my most recent visit to catch-up with Pichlers’ Sauvignon Blanc from this vintage.)”

    David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate (212)

    In Stock

  • Sale!

    Prager Gruner Veltliner Achleiten Stockkultur 2018

    £53.99

    “From vines planted before WWII, the 2018 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Achleiten Stockkultur offers a terribly intense and concentrated, clear, clean and flinty bouquet. On the palate, this is a rich and crystalline, fine, vital and energetic GV with enormous tension and mineral grip as well as some drying 2018 tannins. However, the finesse and elegance of the Achleiten is still there. An impressive wine of great complexity! Tasted at the domain in September 2019. Drink: 2023-2050. 96+ points

    “The 2018 vintage is more or less like the 2015 and also the 2017 vintage,” thinks Toni Bodenstein, from Weingut Prager in Weissenkirchen, the western part of the Wachau. Bodenstein presented me a sensational series of Grüner Veltliners, against which the Rieslings were strangely without a chance, although still excellent. “We had rainfall in 2018, though not much, but always at the right time.” According to Bodenstein, photosynthesis functioned continuously until October. “There is virtually no malic acid, but the tartaric acid content of the 2018s is unusually high. Fortunately, there was no assimilation stop during the day in 2018 like [there was] in August 2015; that vintage just barely turned the corner.”

    The 2018 vintage was nevertheless quite stressful. There was little moisture in winter and flowering at the end of May and beginning of June was extremely early and finished within a few days, a good two weeks earlier than the average. Pruning the leaf wall is of course an important, albeit very costly, cultural intervention. The later it was cut, the better it was; after all, the aim was to use as little water as possible. The harvest began early and was finished by the end of October instead of mid-November as usual. “The Grüner Veltliner then had hardly any malic acid left, but 90% tartaric acid,” says Bodenstein, “yet with pH levels that were in the upper range due to the stress situations during the summer.” For Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Prager measured 3.3-3.4 pH instead of the usual 3.1. “High pH levels, however, have hardly any reduction potential, so that one has to sulfur more at higher pH values than at low ones.” The Riesling was more like 3.2 instead of 3.1 pH, and it maintained its acidity in 2018, which is about 1-1.5 grams per liter above the Veltliners.

    The processing of the grapes in 2018 was also different than usual. “It was important not to harvest at 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit], because otherwise the fermentation would have already started in the harvest boxes. We went to the vines early in the morning and stopped picking when it got too hot.” Normally, the grapes at Prager receive a maceration time of up to seven hours. “But in 2018, we preferred a whole-bunch pressing to preserve the acidity. This is reduced by about 1.5 grams per liter during maceration, which could lead to premature oxidation at high pH values. Therefore, we pressed immediately but slowly over four hours and at low pressure (maximum 0.8-0.9 bar). The shortcoming was, of course, that we had less extract. We compensated for this with longer aging on the fine lees. But we had to be careful here too because of the still-high pH levels and possible malolactic fermentation.” Bodenstein kept the Smaragd wines on the fine lees until the third week of April, which is considerably longer than usual.

    His 2018s are less characterized by exuberant fruit aromas and pure opulence than they are by depth, structure and complexity. This becomes clearer with the Veltliners, for which I initially had little use when I tasted them from a normal wine glass. Bodenstein offered me a number of alternatives. I chose the huge Zalto Burgundy glass—suddenly, I had completely new wines in the glass, which completely captivated me and had little to do with what is otherwise known from the Wachau. They could have been wines from the Côte Rôtie, so full and complex, so fine and elegant. I did not taste any better Veltliners on the Danube last year than Prager’s brilliant 2018s Wachstum Bodenstein and the two selections from the Ried Achleiten. So intoxicated, I asked for older vintages and promptly tasted a whole series of older Veltliners, which I will have to rethink from now on, at least if they come from Prager, whose Rieslings I have always found great anyway. The vertical of the Wachstum Bodenstein showed impressively how terrific this wine, whose mixture of genetics grows on top of the Achleiten in a rather cooler spot, can be in warm years such as 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2007. In this decade, the wines from vines planted in 1997 have reached a level that is rivaled only by the very best wines in the Wachau and along the Danube River.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Prager Gruner Veltliner Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd 2018

    £59.99

    “From vines planted in 1997 with 110 different genetics on only 0.3 hectares at 380 meters in altitude, the 2018 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Wachstum Bodenstein is incredibly clear, fine, fresh and pure on the flinty and delicately fruity nose that is so coolish and fine in its notes of crushed crystalline gneiss rocks and delivers fascinating precision, finesse and mineral freshness! On the palate, this is a rich and juicy, very fine and elegant but also crystalline Veltliner with great purity, lingering salinity and aromatic, well-structured length. This is exciting and one of the greatest Veltliners I have had in my life. It’s not only the terroir that is speaking here but also the genetic variety that gives a sensual complexity that is unrivaled—a result of the whole-bunch pressing and the aging in the less until April 2019 to add the extract that didn’t come from the maceration. Tasted two times at the domain in September 2019. Tasted in September 2019. Drink: 2020-2060. 98 points

    “The 2018 vintage is more or less like the 2015 and also the 2017 vintage,” thinks Toni Bodenstein, from Weingut Prager in Weissenkirchen, the western part of the Wachau. Bodenstein presented me a sensational series of Grüner Veltliners, against which the Rieslings were strangely without a chance, although still excellent. “We had rainfall in 2018, though not much, but always at the right time.” According to Bodenstein, photosynthesis functioned continuously until October. “There is virtually no malic acid, but the tartaric acid content of the 2018s is unusually high. Fortunately, there was no assimilation stop during the day in 2018 like [there was] in August 2015; that vintage just barely turned the corner.”

    The 2018 vintage was nevertheless quite stressful. There was little moisture in winter and flowering at the end of May and beginning of June was extremely early and finished within a few days, a good two weeks earlier than the average. Pruning the leaf wall is of course an important, albeit very costly, cultural intervention. The later it was cut, the better it was; after all, the aim was to use as little water as possible. The harvest began early and was finished by the end of October instead of mid-November as usual. “The Grüner Veltliner then had hardly any malic acid left, but 90% tartaric acid,” says Bodenstein, “yet with pH levels that were in the upper range due to the stress situations during the summer.” For Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Prager measured 3.3-3.4 pH instead of the usual 3.1. “High pH levels, however, have hardly any reduction potential, so that one has to sulfur more at higher pH values than at low ones.” The Riesling was more like 3.2 instead of 3.1 pH, and it maintained its acidity in 2018, which is about 1-1.5 grams per liter above the Veltliners.

    The processing of the grapes in 2018 was also different than usual. “It was important not to harvest at 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit], because otherwise the fermentation would have already started in the harvest boxes. We went to the vines early in the morning and stopped picking when it got too hot.” Normally, the grapes at Prager receive a maceration time of up to seven hours. “But in 2018, we preferred a whole-bunch pressing to preserve the acidity. This is reduced by about 1.5 grams per liter during maceration, which could lead to premature oxidation at high pH values. Therefore, we pressed immediately but slowly over four hours and at low pressure (maximum 0.8-0.9 bar). The shortcoming was, of course, that we had less extract. We compensated for this with longer aging on the fine lees. But we had to be careful here too because of the still-high pH levels and possible malolactic fermentation.” Bodenstein kept the Smaragd wines on the fine lees until the third week of April, which is considerably longer than usual.

    His 2018s are less characterized by exuberant fruit aromas and pure opulence than they are by depth, structure and complexity. This becomes clearer with the Veltliners, for which I initially had little use when I tasted them from a normal wine glass. Bodenstein offered me a number of alternatives. I chose the huge Zalto Burgundy glass—suddenly, I had completely new wines in the glass, which completely captivated me and had little to do with what is otherwise known from the Wachau. They could have been wines from the Côte Rôtie, so full and complex, so fine and elegant. I did not taste any better Veltliners on the Danube last year than Prager’s brilliant 2018s Wachstum Bodenstein and the two selections from the Ried Achleiten. So intoxicated, I asked for older vintages and promptly tasted a whole series of older Veltliners, which I will have to rethink from now on, at least if they come from Prager, whose Rieslings I have always found great anyway. The vertical of the Wachstum Bodenstein showed impressively how terrific this wine, whose mixture of genetics grows on top of the Achleiten in a rather cooler spot, can be in warm years such as 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2007. In this decade, the wines from vines planted in 1997 have reached a level that is rivaled only by the very best wines in the Wachau and along the Danube River.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Prager Gruner Veltliner Zwerithaler Kammergut Smaragd 2018

    £79.99

    “From a very small plot owned by the Stift Melk and planted in 1907/08, the 2018 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Zwerithaler Kammergut offers an intensely fruity but clear, deep and flinty nose. This is rich and round on the palate, with intense and concentrated fruit but maybe a lack of acidity and the purity of the other Veltiners, although it has a firm tannic structure. Very long and in a very fine way powerful. Tasted at the domain in September 2019. Tasted in September 2019. Drink: 2020-2045. 95 points

    “The 2018 vintage is more or less like the 2015 and also the 2017 vintage,” thinks Toni Bodenstein, from Weingut Prager in Weissenkirchen, the western part of the Wachau. Bodenstein presented me a sensational series of Grüner Veltliners, against which the Rieslings were strangely without a chance, although still excellent. “We had rainfall in 2018, though not much, but always at the right time.” According to Bodenstein, photosynthesis functioned continuously until October. “There is virtually no malic acid, but the tartaric acid content of the 2018s is unusually high. Fortunately, there was no assimilation stop during the day in 2018 like [there was] in August 2015; that vintage just barely turned the corner.”

    The 2018 vintage was nevertheless quite stressful. There was little moisture in winter and flowering at the end of May and beginning of June was extremely early and finished within a few days, a good two weeks earlier than the average. Pruning the leaf wall is of course an important, albeit very costly, cultural intervention. The later it was cut, the better it was; after all, the aim was to use as little water as possible. The harvest began early and was finished by the end of October instead of mid-November as usual. “The Grüner Veltliner then had hardly any malic acid left, but 90% tartaric acid,” says Bodenstein, “yet with pH levels that were in the upper range due to the stress situations during the summer.” For Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Prager measured 3.3-3.4 pH instead of the usual 3.1. “High pH levels, however, have hardly any reduction potential, so that one has to sulfur more at higher pH values than at low ones.” The Riesling was more like 3.2 instead of 3.1 pH, and it maintained its acidity in 2018, which is about 1-1.5 grams per liter above the Veltliners.

    The processing of the grapes in 2018 was also different than usual. “It was important not to harvest at 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit], because otherwise the fermentation would have already started in the harvest boxes. We went to the vines early in the morning and stopped picking when it got too hot.” Normally, the grapes at Prager receive a maceration time of up to seven hours. “But in 2018, we preferred a whole-bunch pressing to preserve the acidity. This is reduced by about 1.5 grams per liter during maceration, which could lead to premature oxidation at high pH values. Therefore, we pressed immediately but slowly over four hours and at low pressure (maximum 0.8-0.9 bar). The shortcoming was, of course, that we had less extract. We compensated for this with longer aging on the fine lees. But we had to be careful here too because of the still-high pH levels and possible malolactic fermentation.” Bodenstein kept the Smaragd wines on the fine lees until the third week of April, which is considerably longer than usual.

    His 2018s are less characterized by exuberant fruit aromas and pure opulence than they are by depth, structure and complexity. This becomes clearer with the Veltliners, for which I initially had little use when I tasted them from a normal wine glass. Bodenstein offered me a number of alternatives. I chose the huge Zalto Burgundy glass—suddenly, I had completely new wines in the glass, which completely captivated me and had little to do with what is otherwise known from the Wachau. They could have been wines from the Côte Rôtie, so full and complex, so fine and elegant. I did not taste any better Veltliners on the Danube last year than Prager’s brilliant 2018s Wachstum Bodenstein and the two selections from the Ried Achleiten. So intoxicated, I asked for older vintages and promptly tasted a whole series of older Veltliners, which I will have to rethink from now on, at least if they come from Prager, whose Rieslings I have always found great anyway. The vertical of the Wachstum Bodenstein showed impressively how terrific this wine, whose mixture of genetics grows on top of the Achleiten in a rather cooler spot, can be in warm years such as 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2007. In this decade, the wines from vines planted in 1997 have reached a level that is rivaled only by the very best wines in the Wachau and along the Danube River.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Prager Riesling Achleiten Smaragd 2018

    £51.99

    “Prager’s 2018 Riesling Smaragd Ried Achleiten is clear, fresh and lemony on the nose that displays a concentrated white stone fruit aroma and a touch of botrytis, or at least over-ripeness. Not as brilliant as the Veltliners from the Achleiten. Intense, dense and concentrated on the palate, this is a dense and juicy, very fruity yet also tightly structured Riesling with fine tannins. However, the wine didn’t sing when I tasted it at the domain in September 2019. Drink: 2020-2040. 92 points

    “The 2018 vintage is more or less like the 2015 and also the 2017 vintage,” thinks Toni Bodenstein, from Weingut Prager in Weissenkirchen, the western part of the Wachau. Bodenstein presented me a sensational series of Grüner Veltliners, against which the Rieslings were strangely without a chance, although still excellent. “We had rainfall in 2018, though not much, but always at the right time.” According to Bodenstein, photosynthesis functioned continuously until October. “There is virtually no malic acid, but the tartaric acid content of the 2018s is unusually high. Fortunately, there was no assimilation stop during the day in 2018 like [there was] in August 2015; that vintage just barely turned the corner.”

    The 2018 vintage was nevertheless quite stressful. There was little moisture in winter and flowering at the end of May and beginning of June was extremely early and finished within a few days, a good two weeks earlier than the average. Pruning the leaf wall is of course an important, albeit very costly, cultural intervention. The later it was cut, the better it was; after all, the aim was to use as little water as possible. The harvest began early and was finished by the end of October instead of mid-November as usual. “The Grüner Veltliner then had hardly any malic acid left, but 90% tartaric acid,” says Bodenstein, “yet with pH levels that were in the upper range due to the stress situations during the summer.” For Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Prager measured 3.3-3.4 pH instead of the usual 3.1. “High pH levels, however, have hardly any reduction potential, so that one has to sulfur more at higher pH values than at low ones.” The Riesling was more like 3.2 instead of 3.1 pH, and it maintained its acidity in 2018, which is about 1-1.5 grams per liter above the Veltliners.

    The processing of the grapes in 2018 was also different than usual. “It was important not to harvest at 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit], because otherwise the fermentation would have already started in the harvest boxes. We went to the vines early in the morning and stopped picking when it got too hot.” Normally, the grapes at Prager receive a maceration time of up to seven hours. “But in 2018, we preferred a whole-bunch pressing to preserve the acidity. This is reduced by about 1.5 grams per liter during maceration, which could lead to premature oxidation at high pH values. Therefore, we pressed immediately but slowly over four hours and at low pressure (maximum 0.8-0.9 bar). The shortcoming was, of course, that we had less extract. We compensated for this with longer aging on the fine lees. But we had to be careful here too because of the still-high pH levels and possible malolactic fermentation.” Bodenstein kept the Smaragd wines on the fine lees until the third week of April, which is considerably longer than usual.

    His 2018s are less characterized by exuberant fruit aromas and pure opulence than they are by depth, structure and complexity. This becomes clearer with the Veltliners, for which I initially had little use when I tasted them from a normal wine glass. Bodenstein offered me a number of alternatives. I chose the huge Zalto Burgundy glass—suddenly, I had completely new wines in the glass, which completely captivated me and had little to do with what is otherwise known from the Wachau. They could have been wines from the Côte Rôtie, so full and complex, so fine and elegant. I did not taste any better Veltliners on the Danube last year than Prager’s brilliant 2018s Wachstum Bodenstein and the two selections from the Ried Achleiten. So intoxicated, I asked for older vintages and promptly tasted a whole series of older Veltliners, which I will have to rethink from now on, at least if they come from Prager, whose Rieslings I have always found great anyway. The vertical of the Wachstum Bodenstein showed impressively how terrific this wine, whose mixture of genetics grows on top of the Achleiten in a rather cooler spot, can be in warm years such as 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2007. In this decade, the wines from vines planted in 1997 have reached a level that is rivaled only by the very best wines in the Wachau and along the Danube River.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd 2018

    £55.99

    “The 2018 Riesling Smaragd Ried Klaus is deep, coolish and slightly flinty on the spicy and complex nose where ripe and concentrated stone fruit (peach) aromas are displayed. Powerful, dense and concentrated on the palate, this full-bodied wine is still somewhat pithy and astringent on the finish. Tasted in September 2019. Drink: 2022-2040. 93+ points

    “The 2018 vintage is more or less like the 2015 and also the 2017 vintage,” thinks Toni Bodenstein, from Weingut Prager in Weissenkirchen, the western part of the Wachau. Bodenstein presented me a sensational series of Grüner Veltliners, against which the Rieslings were strangely without a chance, although still excellent. “We had rainfall in 2018, though not much, but always at the right time.” According to Bodenstein, photosynthesis functioned continuously until October. “There is virtually no malic acid, but the tartaric acid content of the 2018s is unusually high. Fortunately, there was no assimilation stop during the day in 2018 like [there was] in August 2015; that vintage just barely turned the corner.”

    The 2018 vintage was nevertheless quite stressful. There was little moisture in winter and flowering at the end of May and beginning of June was extremely early and finished within a few days, a good two weeks earlier than the average. Pruning the leaf wall is of course an important, albeit very costly, cultural intervention. The later it was cut, the better it was; after all, the aim was to use as little water as possible. The harvest began early and was finished by the end of October instead of mid-November as usual. “The Grüner Veltliner then had hardly any malic acid left, but 90% tartaric acid,” says Bodenstein, “yet with pH levels that were in the upper range due to the stress situations during the summer.” For Grüner Veltliner in 2018, Prager measured 3.3-3.4 pH instead of the usual 3.1. “High pH levels, however, have hardly any reduction potential, so that one has to sulfur more at higher pH values than at low ones.” The Riesling was more like 3.2 instead of 3.1 pH, and it maintained its acidity in 2018, which is about 1-1.5 grams per liter above the Veltliners.

    The processing of the grapes in 2018 was also different than usual. “It was important not to harvest at 30 degrees Celsius [86 degrees Fahrenheit], because otherwise the fermentation would have already started in the harvest boxes. We went to the vines early in the morning and stopped picking when it got too hot.” Normally, the grapes at Prager receive a maceration time of up to seven hours. “But in 2018, we preferred a whole-bunch pressing to preserve the acidity. This is reduced by about 1.5 grams per liter during maceration, which could lead to premature oxidation at high pH values. Therefore, we pressed immediately but slowly over four hours and at low pressure (maximum 0.8-0.9 bar). The shortcoming was, of course, that we had less extract. We compensated for this with longer aging on the fine lees. But we had to be careful here too because of the still-high pH levels and possible malolactic fermentation.” Bodenstein kept the Smaragd wines on the fine lees until the third week of April, which is considerably longer than usual.

    His 2018s are less characterized by exuberant fruit aromas and pure opulence than they are by depth, structure and complexity. This becomes clearer with the Veltliners, for which I initially had little use when I tasted them from a normal wine glass. Bodenstein offered me a number of alternatives. I chose the huge Zalto Burgundy glass—suddenly, I had completely new wines in the glass, which completely captivated me and had little to do with what is otherwise known from the Wachau. They could have been wines from the Côte Rôtie, so full and complex, so fine and elegant. I did not taste any better Veltliners on the Danube last year than Prager’s brilliant 2018s Wachstum Bodenstein and the two selections from the Ried Achleiten. So intoxicated, I asked for older vintages and promptly tasted a whole series of older Veltliners, which I will have to rethink from now on, at least if they come from Prager, whose Rieslings I have always found great anyway. The vertical of the Wachstum Bodenstein showed impressively how terrific this wine, whose mixture of genetics grows on top of the Achleiten in a rather cooler spot, can be in warm years such as 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2007. In this decade, the wines from vines planted in 1997 have reached a level that is rivaled only by the very best wines in the Wachau and along the Danube River.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (03/20)

    In Stock

  • Prager Riesling Steinriegl Federspiel 2019

    £30.95

    Review to follow

    In Stock

  • Emmerich Knoll Gruner Veltliner Ried Kreutles Smaragd 2017

    £34.99

    “Knoll’s 2017 Loibner Grüner Veltliner Ried Kreutles Smaragd is intensely fruity but fine and refreshingly mineral on the nose. Ripe and almost creamy on the palate, with a crystalline acidity and an intense finish, this is a full-bodied and elegant Veltliner with a lingering grip and salinity. This wine is well structured and will improve over the years in the bottle. Tasted in Unterloiben/Wachau, September 2018. Drink: 2020-2033. 91 points

    “2017 has been as dry as never before between January and July,” says Emmy Knoll senior, who has recorded the weather data for 50 years. “The leaves turned yellow or even brown already in June. It was the rain in the middle of August that rescued the vintage. After that, the temperatures went down and the night temperatures were cool, which finally gave elegant and fruity wines with refreshing acidity levels. To be honest, during the summer, neither we nor our colleagues thought 2017 would give so beautiful wines at the end. Especially Riesling kept its acidity incredibly high, with two grams per liter more than Grüner Veltliner. I have to say, we are very happy with the 2017 vintage.”

    Indeed, Knoll’s 2017s are homogeneously great, especially the Rieslings whose finest example comes from the Ried Schütt, which benefited from the cool evening winds from the rift (Menthalgraben) at whose end the rather flat but stony (gneiss) detritic cone cru is located. Also the Grüner Veltliner Vinothekfüllung is an impressive wine and perhaps one of the finest that was produced in the 2017 vintage. It is concentrated and very complex but refined and highly elegant. Readers shouldn’t miss tasting the mouth-filling Kreutles Federspiel Veltliner too. It’s a different character compared to the Smaragd, but it’s on the same high-quality level. Among the Loibenberg bottlings, I even prefer the medium-weight Federspiel Riesling to the Smaragd, since it is just as fine and elegant, mineral and tensioned and highly stimulatingly.”

    Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (240)

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