Zweigelt is the most planted black grape variety in Austria. The crossing of St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch was created in 1922 by professor Fritz Zweigelt. From St. Laurent it gets its bright, cherry aromas and the ability to create silky, elegant wines. From Blaufrankisch it has taken a certain spiciness and good acidity. As both parents produce wines with deep, rich purple colour, Zweigelt wines tend to be very richly coloured.
Zweigelt buds later than St. Laurent and ripens earlier than Blaufrankisch, and while these two varieties are susceptible to harsh weather conditions such as spring frost and autumn rain, Zweigelt vines typically dodge these seasonal threats. Zweigelt also is a high-yielding variety, which additionally contributes to its popularity with winegrowers.
Today, Zweigelt is grown in every Austrian wine region, with the finest examples coming from Burgenland. A classic Austrian Zweigelt is richly coloured with a deep, bright core of spiced cherry and raspberry flavours. The finest examples have the potential to cellar well for a decade, but the majority are best consumed within a few years of release.
The variety is also becoming popular in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. Small-scale plantings have also been trialed in Canada, Japan and England.
To discover this grape variety we suggest to taste the Ried Hallebühl Zweigelt Frauenkirchner 2013, one of special wines produced by Umathum, Burgenland. The Umathum Wine Estate has consistently ranked as one of the best wine-growers in Austria since the early 1990s.
The Zweigelt 2013 was aged 18 months in French oak and 24 months in bottle before release. This dark ruby coloured wine has impressions of cherry, lilac and coconut with a hint of spice on the nose. On the palate, blackberries and beets with hints of pickled cherries, good structure with medium acidity and balanced smooth tannins. The finish is long, elegant and complex.
Food pairing: roasted ham hock, grilled sausages, duck confit
Amsterdam, March 9th 2020