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Offbeat grapes - Blauer Zweigelt
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.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
This wine is available in the U.S. exclusively through California Wine Club's International Selections,
To browse a wider selection of Zweigelts on Wine-Searcher.com, click:
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