A Well-Aged Austrian White

Prager Riesling Smaragd Trocken Wachau Hollerin 2001
Harvey Steiman
Posted: March 12, 2009

Rieslings benefit from age. At least the good ones do, and this Prager Riesling Smaragd Hollerin 2001 was a winner. It was on the by-the-glass list at XIV, Michael Mina's new restaurant in Los Angeles, and it seemed like just the thing to drink with a series of small plates involving seafood. The price, $17 a glass, seemed fair for a well-aged white.

This was at a lovely point in its development, still youthful enough to show the lively grapefruit and lime freshness of the primary fruit but also developing that waxy, minerally range of flavors that eventually will prevail as the wine ages. But most of all, it had taken on a polish and a richness to balance what could have been biting acidity in this dry style. I put it at 91 points, non-blind.

Prager is justifiably one of the top wine names in Austria, and the wine delivered a classy mouthful of Riesling goodness. But in the end, it was better by itself than with the seafood, where it actually came off as too rich. It made the best food match with a beet and burrata salad.

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