Today we’re heading away from the Mediterranean (only slightly) to look at one of the best summer wines around: Zweigelt. This Austrian wine is a far cry from the usual Pinot Noirs and Merlots and offers a unique and refreshing taste profile.
Zweigelt wine was first developed in 1922 by Austrian biologist Fritz Zweigelt when he crossed St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grapes. Since then, Zweigelt has gone on to become the most widely grown grapes in Austria, comprising over 16,000 hectares.
Like many other summer wines, Zweigelt is light and tasty and the perfect companion to a weekend cookout.
So what is it about this wine that sets it apart from others? It’s all down to the combination of sweet and sour. Zweigelt combines an intense berry fruitiness with an appealing acidic tartness that makes for a bracing and refreshing wine. Zweigelt wines are light bodied, contain very few tannins, and have a fairly high acidity. All these aspects combine to make for a wine that can be enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled.
In terms of specific flavors, drinkers of Zweigelt can expect notes of berry-based fruit such as cherry, blackcurrant, and raspberries. Additional flavors include cinnamon, pepper, and floral notes.
It’s not uncommon for certain bottles of Zweigelt to be slightly effervescent, which makes them particularly refreshing on a hot summers day.
Zweigelt is one of those rare reds that pair well with fish, particularly shellfish. Try pairing it with fish cooked in wine or tomato-based sauce to really bring out the flavors. Poultry and Zweigelt also go very well together. Chicken, duck, or fowl can be eaten with this wine. Red meat eaters will be pleased to know that the wine also goes well with their protein of choice, although we recommend sticking with lighter red meats when pairing with Zweigelt.
The high acidity and crispness of Zweigelt is the perfect complement to a barbecue, as it can counterbalance the inherent richness of grilled foods.
Finally, when pairing with cheese, try and stick to less flavourful options like goats milk cheese, gouda, cream cheese, Roquefort, and Majorero.
Wines to try
Zweigelt wines are fairly easy to find, just head to the Austrian section of your favourite wine store and there should be a couple of bottles. Most bottles will cost somewhere in the region of $20.
Glatzer Riedencuvee Zweigelt ($18)
If you’re looking for something on the tarter end of the spectrum, this is a great choice.
Paul Achs Zweigelt ($24)
Conversely, this is a wine for those looking for something sweeter and lighter.
Heinrich Zweigelt ($20)
Finally, we have a richer offering. This wine also has better balance between sweet and sour than the other wines on our list.