March 3, 2016
Wine of the Week: Zweigelt
Austria is mainly known for its white wines. Its peppery and crisp Grüner Veltliners and dry, mineral Rieslings have won favors of wine lovers across the globe. But what about its reds? We already covered spicy Blaufränkisch, and today is dedicated to the super fruity Zweigelt.
What is Zweigelt?
Just Zweigelt is highly popular, and is the most widely planted red varietal in Austria. Zweigelt is much closer to Blaufränkisch than one would imagine. It is actually the result of a relatively new cross of Saint-Laurent (another local grape) with Blaufränkisch, produced back in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt (hence its name). From its parent varietals, Zweigelt took its rich deep purple-crimson color, Saint-Laurent’s cherry aromas and silkiness, as well as Blaufränkisch’s spiciness and acidity.
It’s a lighter red wine that could be compared to Gamay or Grenache, rarely oaked. Zweigelt is often appreciated for its freshness and grace, and makes consistent and easy-drinking wines, great with food, with a beautiful floral character. What we love about Zweigelt? It’s a wine that can be enjoyed year round: it’s a light red, making it perfect for summer sipping, while its spicy flavors also make it enjoyable in colder weather.
How to pick your Zweigelt?
Although Austrians usually drink their wine young, there are a few age-worthy examples of Zweigelt that exude rich cherry flavors with a touch of oak. Although varietal Zweigelt wines are quite common, the grape is also used in several blends – often combined with Cabernet and Merlot, or even with its parent-variety, Blaufränkisch. One notable thing about these wines is their great consistency of style among producers – so don’t be scared to follow your instinct on this one!
How to enjoy your Zweigelt?
One of the main advice we could give you when it comes to your bottle of Zweigelt is to give it about an hour to decant. Zweigelt may initially have a slight bitter and tart finish; but let it breathe, and the wine will exhibit deep and fruity notes of raspberry and dark cherry.
Zweigelt is a very food-friendly vino overall, but it is especially great with any type of grilled food – the brightness and freshness of the wine are generally a perfect counter to the richness and fat of these dishes.
2005 Leo Hillinger Zweigelt
2009 Schloss Gobelsburg Zweigelt
2010 Weingut Juris Selection Zweigelt
2013 Lenz Moser Blauer Zweigelt