Last night, a Weingut Prager dinner at Restaurant Seasonal. There might be a law that all the Austrian restaurants in Manhattan are required to have a minimum of one Michelin star. Just saying. The meal was essentially Austrian, with some international touches... Turkey, Japan, Sweden... The wine was essentially tremendous, with some touches of spectacular. Of course, it must be noted that I only just got to the place, what with Ahmadinejad making all kinds of noises down the street at the UN.
2004 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd - pretty, lightly floral nose, a hint of smoke makes this almost too interesting for an aperitif, lean and bright, crunchy fruit.
Amuse-bouche of baby octopus. Followed by GV flight:
2008 Prager Grüner Achleiten Smaragd - brassy golden colour, savoury nose, melon, stones, sharp green apple. Big structure, oily, viscous, savoury, quinine, lots of concentration, just a hint of '08 muskiness, but relatively clean for the vintage. Not blown away, but importantly for '08, not turned away either.
2007 Prager Grüner Stockkultur Halbtrocken (Magnum) - pale lemon, the sweetness is quite obvious in this flight, crunchy and vivacious, just joy!
2001 Prager Grüner Achleiten Smaragd (Magnum) - lovely, lovely wine, hints of maturity, great acidity, savoury funk adding extra interest.
Lest I forget, there was some food with that flight:
Steckrüben Suppe (rutabaga, beech mushroom, fried bone marrow...)
...in urfa pepper broth.
Pochiertes Ei (soft-poached egg, lobster, maitake foam and toasted pumpernickel)
On to the next flight, the 2008 rieslings... must say, a little trepidation here, given my experience with 2008s from Austria.
2008 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd - such a different character from the 2004, much more musky, but again, relatively contained for the year. Teetering on the edge, for me.
2008 Prager Riesling Achleiten Smaragd - softer, lighter, milder, more enjoyable, but a bit wimpy and short.
2008 Prager Riesling Wachtum Bodenstein Smaragd - candied nose, dusty, chalk and mineral show clearly. Spades leaner and cleaner than the other two in this flight, though it's the softest yet of the three, and fleeting. An unusual smaragd.
So, the '08s... consistent, cleaner than most other producers I've tried for the year, across the board (except maybe for Salomon.) Strong, but I'll still be skipping it. Anyways, you're probably still hungry, no? I was!
Kalbsbries (veal sweetbreads, brussel sprouts and celery root)
Zander (walleye pike, horseradish, egg yolk and dill puree)
The third flight was again riesling, but from three different plots:
2007 Prager Riesling Steinriegl Smaragd - high-toned nose, smoke and minerals, good acidity, a fair dose of sugar, and a bit hot and angry. This was not so much to my liking.
2007 Prager Riesling Klaus Smaragd (Magnum) - milder, much more polite nose, much better balance, lots of bitters and grapefruit.
2006 Prager Riesling Wachstum Bodenstein Smaragd - Delicately herbal nose, inflected with dill, clean, pretty, delicate, filigreed... just an elegant dry riesling. Lovely!
Wiener Schnitzel (veal over potato and cucumber salad, served with lingonberry jam, yes, lingonberry!) Ah, a fine match too... those Austrian Rieslings and Grüners, when sharp, are just suited to fried meat!
1993 Prager Sauvignon Blanc - next up, a blind... SB? really? I was very far wide of the mark, with my Friulian Ribolla, but I still feel it was like a Radikon-lite.
Bayerische Kreme (Bavarian cream, strawberries, and elderflower sorbet)
There you go. Prager... when it's on, it's really on!