30 Second Wine Advisor: Offbeat grapes - Blauer Zweigelt 30 Second Wine Advisor: Offbeat grapes - Blauer Zweigelt

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 Offbeat grapes - Blauer Zweigelt
This relatively modern Austrian grape, developed in the 20th century, makes a juicy, tart red wine that's worth getting to know.
 The California Wine Club No Billing and No Shipping Until December with The California Wine Club. Deep discounts on holiday gifts reserved now!
 Winzer Krems 2005 "Sandgrube 13" Kremstal Blauer Zweigelt Intriguing, subtle red fruit with a big grind of white pepper and a dash of mouth-watering acidity.
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
Randy Caparoso sings the praises of Lodi Zinfandels, and the WineLovers Discussion Group is talking about recent experiences checking through wine when we travel by air.
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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.

Winzer Krems 2005 "Sandgrube 13" Kremstal Blauer Zweigelt ($24)

Winzer Krems

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.

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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This week on WineLoversPage.com

Randy's Culinary Wine & Food Adventures: Is Lodi making California's best Zinfandels?
"There are more Zinfandels of truly exhilarating 'Zinfandel-ish' quality coming out of Lodi, Calif. than from any other single American Viticultural Area," reports Randy Caparoso. Here are some of the best he's found.

WineLovers Discussion Group: Flying with wine
Amid increased security and rising fuel prices, the airline scene is constantly changing. No liquids in carry-ons, and who knows what to expect in checked baggage? If you have recent experiences transporting wine when you fly, please share them with our WineLovers Discussion Group.

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: