on Nov 03, 2010
the Weissenkirchner vineyardBecause even in "difficult" vintages, the best producers make wines that not only last, but continue to gain complexity and depth.This Riesling Smaragd (comparable to Auslese in Germany) from the tough 1998 vintage shows none of the high alcohol, and just the subtlest hint of the botrytis that plagued many of the best (dry) Austrian whites from this vintage. The only hint that this wine is over 10 years old comes from the beautiful, bright green-gold color. The bouquet offers ever-changing yet delicate aromas of lavender, acacia honey, dried apricots and almonds. On the palate, a crisp, full entry, and flavors of apricot, honey, nectarine, and minerals. Though there is plenty of acidity (this would sing with almost any food), the wine's balance is uncanny, with a round and rich, almost saline quality and a long, juicy finish of unbelievable energy for a 10+ year old wine from a mediocre vintage. This wine is compelling proof that Prager is one of the world's great masters of dry Riesling. If you find any of the very fine '06 vintage or the spectacular '07, I really hope you'll grab as much as you can afford--but please put a few bottles deep into the corners of your cellar, and forget about them for a decade or two!
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