This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Monday, Jun. 23, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080623.php.
Offbeat grapes - Blauer Zweigelt
A few months ago, we took a look at a relatively obscure Austrian grape, "Blaufränkish," also known (among other things) as "Lemberger" or "Limberger."
Today let's visit an even more offbeat variety, Blauer Zweigelt ("Blau-er Tsvy-gelt"), a modern cross made by introducing Blaufränkish to another ancient but intriguing Austrian red grape, Sankt Laurent.
Named after Dr. Zweigelt, the grape scientist who developed it in 1922, it's a modern variety designed for commercial wine, with a relatively short growing season that helps it thrive even in marginal climates. (It's probably no coincidence that Zweigelt - usually rendered without the "Blauer" prefix - is also grown in New York's chilly Finger Lakes and Ontario.)
Today's tasting, a relative rarity, clearly shows the nature of the variety in juicy red fruit, snappy acid and a marked whiff of fragrant white pepper. My tasting notes are below.
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Winzer Krems 2005 "Sandgrube 13" Kremstal Blauer Zweigelt ($24)
Clear, dark garnet. Intriguing scent of subtle red fruit with a big grind of white pepper. Fresh, fruity and tart, red berries, a whiff of bay leaf and plenty of fragrant pepper, shaped by mouth-watering acidity. U.S. importer: G & G Co., Calabasas, Calif., for California Wine Club's International Selections. (June 16, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: Its ripe fruit makes a natural match with beef, but its relative delicacy also suggests a pairing with poultry. It was fine with pan-seared rib eye steaks.
WHEN TO DRINK: Most will enjoy it within a few years of the vintage, but in Austria it's not unusual to put away a good Blauer Zweigelt for five to 10 years after the vintage.
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Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
Bargain anti-Chardonnay (June 20, 2008)
Another hearty Pinot Grigio (June 18, 2008)
How big is a bottle? (June 16, 2008)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive: