Although Austria is more famous for its peppery Grüner Veltliners and complex Rieslings, its most widely planted red grape, "Zweigelt" (TSVYE-gelt) is a must try! For such a harsh sounding name, Zweigelt can be an incredibly approachable and friendly wine with soft tannins and an almost exotic perfume. The variety was first created in 1922 when an Austrian scientist, Fritz Zweigelt, crossed Blaufränkisch with St. Laurent. Often exhibiting floral notes, hints of spice and a juicy core of black cherry fruit, the grape could be compared to a spicy Beaujolais. Since it is an early ripening, high yielding grape that is generally bottled unoaked, Zweigelt is often quite affordable and will typically over deliver on flavor and aromatics.
Next time you're in the mood for something easy going, picnic-ready, crowd-pleasing and wallet-friendly, I encourage you to pick up a bottle or two of this delicious Austrian staple. I hope you will find this grape as charming as I do, and I would encourage you to enjoy it alongside BBQ'd ribs, sausages or whatever you like to throw on the grill!
We were thrilled to procure a fine example of this grape for our April Red wine club from Weingut Hannes Reeh. At $16 a bottle, I know what I'm drinking on a Monday, and Tuesday, and probably Friday-Sunday as well!