Much less popular internationally than Grüner, Zweigelt is Austria’s most widely planted red variety. It is on the upswing as wine drinkers thirst for reds that are lighter in body and more refreshing than has been the norm in the past. It may not have the most romantic origin story, but it is a success story nonetheless. Zweigelt was created in 1922 by Dr. Freidrich Zweigelt as a cross between Blaufrankisch and St-Laurent as a means of creating a red grape with the most desirable traits of each of these two grape varieties. Less than a century later, it’s the most popular red grape in its country of origin. In addition to this, it is more resilient to difficult growing seasons than either of its parent grapes, making it more reliable for wine growers who rely on it for their living.
In the glass, the Vorspannhof Mayr Zweigelt pours a lovely violet color, grabbing you on first sniff with its earthy notes of black currant, blackberry, and white pepper. Moving to the palate, you’ll find this wine full yet fresh, showcasing notes of wild berries, fresh mint, and spices. It is a wine for the thirsty, yet with some depth and concentration to it–a best of both worlds kind of a situation.
Unlike the family’s Grüner, which spends its entire life in tank to preserve freshness, their Zweigelt is afforded time in barrel before bottling. A rarity in vins de soif such as this, the barrel regimen softens the tannins and broadens the palate, making for an impressively complex table red with a long, persistent finish that piques the desire for another glass. One might describe Zweigelt’s character as a mix between the fresh and fruity flair of Gamay with an earthiness and funk often found in Rhône Syrah–not a bad combo!