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, puts Prager in the highest echelon of Austrian producers.
About the Vineyard
Steinriegl is Prager’s only vineyard west of Weißenkirchen and is planted to Riesling. The southwest-facing site is cool due to its proximity to the forest and its soil is a unique “kalksilikatmarmor,” a limestone silicate marble rarely found elsewhere in the Wachau. Bodenstein produces both an earlier picked Federspiel and a later picked Smaragd from this site.
Federspiel is a designation of ripeness for dry wines used exclusively by members of the Vinea Wachau and must fall between 11.5 and 12.5% abv. The grapes are hand-harvested, typically in October, and are sent directly to press where they’re fermented using natural yeasts. Since 1996, Prager wines have been vinified entirely in stainless-steel tanks.
Austrian Riesling is often defined by high levels of dry extract thanks to a lengthy ripening period and a pleasing freshness due to dramatic temperature swings between day and night. Steinriegl’s uniquely cool microclimate results in wines of elevated aroma and focused acidity, and its limestone soil provides compact structure and a flavor that is distinctive among Wachau Rieslings.
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 a certain amount of saltiness. Conversely, it can highlight foods such as fish or vegetables in the same way a squeeze of lemon or a vinaigrette might.