Catch some Zzz – Wake up to Zweigelt

October 11, 2012

The change-up in the weather is upon us, and we are having those days where it’s chilly getting out of bed, a coat and hat are morning requirements, by mid-afternoon we find ourselves cutting  back the garden in short shirt sleeves, only to bundle up again to gaze at the stars before turning in.

It takes some flexibility to handle the swings across the thermometer with grace and last night during Twitter #WineChat, this week’s theme “Austrian Reds”, I was reminded about a wine grape which I am quite fond of, as it faces temperature  fluctuation with fortitude and finesse.  Zweigelt should be at home on Vermont tables, and I’ve mentioned that previously in these pages.


Zweigelt is the most widely planted red grape in Austria, and that is for good reason.  It is an easy to like wine that is seriously friendly with cuisine from the simple to extravagant due to its weight and freshness. Yes there are some lovely Pinot Noir coming from Austria, and while Zweigelt is sometimes thought of as a “simpler” wine, its own complexities should not be overlooked.

In brief it is light to medium bodied, red hued, a spectrum of cherry flavors from sweet to sour to tart, with savory earthy and herbal notes.  Zweigelt has the flexibility to present its different facets in varying degrees based on whether (or weather) it has been chilled, served at cellar temp, or risen to the room’s ambient.  This means that the same wine can be just the right match for a number of dishes and situations.  We even enjoy the game of following a wines natural rise in degrees over time, to see where its best zones are and the big Z manages to regularly impress across the board.

Visit Austrian Wine USA

Visit Austrian Wine USA

Dr. Fritz Zweigelt created the hybrid in 1922, and while it has been referred to by other names (Zweigeltrebe & Rotburger ), I’m glad the good doctor got his props for the history books and our enjoyment.  It is therefore the 90th birth year of this amicable dinner companion, so I highly suggest finding the time to celebrate with it.

There are plenty of good versions of Zweigelt available around the state of Vermont, and should easily be found in any local wine shop…not only that, the value is quite good as well.  So, make sure you catch some Z’s when you are getting ready to hunker down this winter.

If you want some further opinions, suggestions,  and lots more information from some excellent writers/tasters, I would suggest these articles for your reading pleasure:

The Unspeakable Delights of Zweigelt – Eric Asimov – New York Times
The Taste of Zweigelt – Alder Yarrow – Vinography
Try Zweigelt This Summer – Meg Houston Maker – Palate Press

With these mentions, I must also add that I thought Meg Maker really nailed it last night during #winechat, when she tweeted:

zweigelt_dish_vt_wine_mediaLast evening we enjoyed one of our go-to Zweigelts by Anton Bauer, the Wagram 2009.  Warm meaty baked cherry aromatics that go to black pepper as it opens.  Nice juicy mouthful, that is both supple and substantial, with a lengthy light tart and cocoa  finish.  Went really well with the home made mini meatloaves that the Austrians call Faschierte Laibchen, the last of the yellow squash, and butternut squash ravioli.

Next week you have a great chance to taste a few Zweigelt on Oct. 17th at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, with Keven Ring of Artisanal Cellars.


Comments (2)


  1. Alder says:

    Thanks for the nod! Viva la Zweigelt! (I don’t know how to say it in German).

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