Text Size:-+

2003 Weingut Berger, Blauer Zweigelt, Kremstal, Austria

zweigelt.jpg Not simply content to enjoy standard wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, there are those who seek out the elusive, the exotic, and the backwoods wine varietals. While it is not the driving force in my wine exploration, I always jump at the chance to taste wines made from unheard of grape varieties. I was mighty pleased, then, to participate in this month's Wine Blogging Wednesday, our monthly Internet tasting party that has this month taken the theme of "Obscure Red Varietals." Thanks to Andy over at Spittoon.Biz I've been forced to hunt down something I've never tried before, a varietal known as Blauer Zweigelt.

Zweigelt, also known as Zweigeltrebe, is a relatively recent addition to the world's panoply of grape varietals, thanks to the work of Dr. Fritz Zweigelt in 1922 as part of his biological research at Klosterneuburg, the unofficial center of viticultural education and investigation in Austria since 1860. Zweigelt is a cross of two older varietals, Blaufrankish and Saint Laurent, both of which are two of Austria's most popular red grapes. Zweigelt is grown all over Austria and more recently in Germany and even the UK.

Winemaking in Austria has a long history. Archeological evidence places the earliest winemaking activities in the area around 700 BC, but was really established heavily during the Middle Ages by Cistercian monks and their monasteries in Bavaria. The modern wine industry in Austria is spread across a varied landscape of appellations, one of the most famous of which is Kremstal. Kremstal centers around the town of Krems which has had a school of viticulture since 1875 and which is known best for its Gruner Veltliner and Reisling as well as another local specialty wine, Roter Veltliner.

Not far from Krems, the small town of Gedersdorf houses the winery and guesthouse Weingut & Gasthaus Berger a small family run operation that has been in business since 1970. Starting with about 14 acres, the family has slowly built their holdings and production up to nearly 40 acres. Originally a producer of Gruner Veltliner and Reisling, the Berger family has started to produce small quantities of Chardonnay as well as two bottlings of Zweigelt, with plans to also produce a Cabernet in the future.

This wine is traditionally barrel fermented and aged, though I do not know for how long. Of the two Zweigelts that the Berger family produces, this is their lower tier wine, and as a result it receives less barrel aging, and is bottled in one liter bottles, rather than the 750ml we are all familiar with. As a result it has an imposing presence on the table.

Tasting Notes:
Light garnet in the glass, this wine has a heady nose of redcurrant and sweet oak with a slight hint of ethyl alcohol that gives it a slight unpleasant sharpness. In the mouth it tastes of sour cherry, redcurrant, and rosehips with a bright acidity and a bit of zingy spice in the mid-palate. It is basically tannin free, and has a surprisingly long finish, though one that has a hint of old socks in it. Had I tasted this blind, I would have probably guessed it was a pinot noir. It has much the same flavor profile albeit with a little more spice to it. I can imagine that this grape would actually make some very interesting wine.

Food Pairing:
I would suggest treating this wine much as one would a Pinot Noir or a young Tempranillo. That said, you might try pairing it with something vaguely Austrian, like this tasty goulash soup.

Overall Score: 8

How Much?: $12

This wine can be found online at several retailers.

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud