What does the word Smaragd signify on a bottle of wine from the Wachau region of Austria?
A. The ripeness level of the wine
B. Smaragd is the word in dialect for “Wachau”
C. The vineyard classification of the wine, equivalent to a Premier Cru vineyard
D. Smaragd is the name of the medieval village where the first Riesling in the Wachau was made
The word smaragd (meaning “emerald”) signifies wines that are the most physiologically ripe, and are therefore considered the best. The wines must have a minimum of 12.5 percent alcohol; most are higher. Smaragd is also the name of a bright green lizard that suns itself in the vineyards of Lower Austria. The Wachau is one of Austria’s premier regions for riesling and grüner veltliner.