I recently had an opportunity to participate in another fast, fun, and furious #winechat Twitter event that was put on by the good folks over at @AustrianWineUSA. The intent of this tasting was to taste, learn, and experience the red wines of Austria and celebrate Zweigelt’s (an indigenous red wine grape of Austria) 90th birthday. Generally speaking, when most people think of Austrian wine, their thoughts are usually bright and racy white wines -- with similarities to Germany. Only 1/3 of Austria’s grape production is red, so it sort of makes sense that the average US consumer associates the region with [drier styled] Riesling wines and the widely popular and indigenous Grüner Veltliner white wine grape variety. However, unlike Germany, Austria produces drier wines and has a climate that many liken to Burgundy (warmer than Germany), which bodes well for some of the region's more full[er] bodied reds that ripen later and require the warmth and longer growing-season to fully develop ripe and complex flavors.
Three of Austria’s most important red wine grapes that are also indigenous to the region are Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and Zweigelt. The latter [Zweigelt] is the most widely planted red wine grape in all of Austria’s wine growing regions. For the event, I had a chance to sample the 2010 Zanthos and 2011 Kirchmayr Zweigelt. The Zantho is fairly easy-drinking and well-balanced with inviting black cherry and cranberry aromas/flavors with slight mineral notes and a generous sprinkling of black pepper and a spice accented medium length finish. The Kirchmayr offers sour cherry, wild plum, and touches of sweet baking spice with smooth tannins, moderate acidity, and a soft, supple texture and medium length finish. Both wines were pleasant, offered moderate complexity, and paired nicely with the grilled fare I enjoyed just before the virtual tasting. As seasonal wine drinkers’ transition from summer white wines to more medium-bodied and accessible red wines, Zweigelt is a good selection to put on your list. It’s something different, it’s usually both palate and pocket friendly (under $20 sweet-spot), and you can always look like the “smart kid” at the table by being the only one able to pronounce it. Click here to hear someone pronounce Zweigelt correctly before trying this at home. Cheers!
Tip: You will have better luck finding Austrian Zweigelt or any of the region's red wines at your local wine shop versus grocers. Happy Hunting!
To learn more about Austrian wine Click here to visit the Austrian Wine USA website. Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook too. Cheers!
Click here to view the upcoming #winechat schedule on The Life of Vines website.
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come. Disclosure: This wine was received as a media sample. Thoughts are my own.
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