Some people hold to the idea that only the white wines are any good in Austria.
If you haven't tried Austrian reds, you are missing out, big time! - and Zweigelt is a good place to start.
Zweigelt is the most planted red grape in Austria, the classic red for Austria. It makes very smooth, fruity, aromatic reds, often with a surprising touch of spice, but can be made to every style from light thirst quenchers to surprisingly big monsters.
Zweigelt is not only made into dry wine. It makes some wonderful strohwein and even Eiswein. As a result there is a growing amount in Canada where they make a superb icewine.
Our Zweigelts come from all over Austria to show a variety of styles and terroirs, but our reference is the fabulous Zweigelts made by Franz Netzl (and now daughter Christine) in Carnuntum. Other very popular Zweigelts would be the lovely smooth budget Altenriederer from Traisental and the Bisamberg by Rainer Christ in Vienna
Pick yours, or scroll down to learn more.
What to Expect
The wines tend to be a lovely deep ruby colour and the nose is almost physically chewable with lingering black fruits, combining with sweet tones of treacle and caramel and a hint of stewed prunes in the background. Absolutely gorgeous.
On tasting, it is a surprise to find that it is typically lighter in the body than the nose suggested. Flavours of black fruits, especially cherry, come through with hints of plum in the background. Some Zweigelt will give a lot of spice, especially cinnamon. The length of this wine can be astonishing.
Zweigelt is named after its creator, Dr Zweigelt, who crossed St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch in 1922 at the research centre in Klosterneuburg. Whilst crossing two great grapes does not guarantee a greater, this comes pretty close. Both parents are used to making beautiful wine and the child is too.
It was originally named Rotburger and in places is still known by that synonym today. However that can be very confusing as there is another grape, totally unrelated, called Rotberger.
Knowing the parentage of Zweigelt, it is clear that it is the grandchild of both Gouais Blanc and Pinot, making it part of serious grape royalty. It is also a parent of Roesler, also created in Klosterneuburg, an up-and-coming red grape in Austria.