Tasting games: Zweigelt

Ah, Zweigelt – a curious grape, indeed!

This year we are celebrating Zweigelt’s 90th birthday as it was created just that many years ago in 1922 – an original cross of the indigenous St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grapes. The grape was created by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt, though it was not known under his name until the 1970’s when the famed Lenz Moser decided it best to call it such.

Despite its young age, Zweigelt is the most widely-planted red grape in Austria making up for 14.1% of the total production, and is the second-most planted grape over all. In the past several years, Zweigelt has seen a transformation from a simple, easy-drinking variety to one of quality production. In fact, this year Zweigelt earned its first classification in Austria’s newest DAC, the Neusiedlersee DAC.

In general, Zweigelt has a violet-reddish color and on the palate it exhibits soft tannins, balancing acidity, and notes of red cherries and black pepper, but the variety may also show notes of green pepper, blackberry, blueberry, or chocolate. Barrel-aged versions meant to last also exhibit notes of cherry and black pepper, but also vanilla and sweet spices from the oak. Rose made from Zweigelt is also noteworthy.

Zweigelt is most prominently grown in Burgenland, particular in the Neusiedlersee which is known for its diverse range in styles, but it is also grown throughout the rest of Austria with Lower Austria being home to the second-largest amount, focused in Carnuntum.

Zweigelt is a great wine to try on its own or in a blend and we recommend pairing it with variety of menu options including teriyaki and bbq-styled Asian cuisine, roast meat dishes, stewed vegetables, and also with cheese, olives, and canapes.

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Categories: Tasting games

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