Zweigelt was developed in 1922 by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt at the Teaching and Research Centre for Viticulture and Horticulture in Klosterneuburg.
It is a cross between St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch grapes. Dr. Zweigelt originally named the grape “Rotburger” (‘rot’ being German for the colour red, and ‘burg’ for Klosterneuburg). It was renamed in 1975 by the famous Austrian oenologist Lenz Moser, who also started planting the grape more extensively, making it the most important red wine in Austria. Zweigelt takes up 42% (6426 ha) of red wine vineyards. It is followed by the Blaufränkisch at 19% (2808 ha). Zweigelt is the second most produced wine in Austria after Grüner Veltliner.
The eastern wine regions Carnuntum and Neusiedlersee have the perfect climate for growing Zweigelt, the latter carrying its own DAC wines.
The Zweigelt grape demands little from the soil it grows on, but because it is a very fertile grape, it requires extensive leaf work and yield regulation to ensure a good quality wine. A Zweigelt wine is intensely crimson.
Dr. Friedrich “Fritz” Zweigelt
Zweigelt is mainly produced as a young-drinking, fruity wine. The common aroma for practically all Zweigelt wines is (sour) cherries as well as elegant, fine tannins inherited from its St. Laurent parent. It also has good acidity and hints of spiciness from its Blaufränkisch parent. This style of Zweigelt can be served slightly chilled, especially in summer. We also recommend opening it an hour or so before drinking, this will bring out more of the fruit and reduce a slight hint of bitterness that the wine may have.
In addition to the young fruity Zweigelt, there are also many wonderful reserve wines vinified in the barrique, the oak adding a smoother, fuller aroma to the spiced cherries. These wines can be stored for some years.
Zweigelt is an excellent partner in cuvee wines; it blends well with Bordeaux varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and is also a very popular blend with Blaufränkisch, bringing out the best of both.
Of course we have the different types in our store!
The Zweigelt Klassik from Raser Bayer and the Zweigelt Casual from Michael Opitz are lovely classic Zweigelts, with the Opitz version being very smooth and fruity, and the Raser-Bayer being a true classic Zweigelt.
Looking for a fantastic velvet reserve? Try the Zweigelt Reserve Erich Sattler
Zweigelt and Food
Because Zweigelt is a quite light red wine, it pairs well with lighter red meat and fowl. We particularly like it with duck and pheasant. Its acidity makes it one of the few red wines that even works well with tomato-based sauces (think a lovely seafood marinara, or a bolognese).
In summer, try it lightly chilled, with grilled chicken from the bbq.
Zweigelt is a predominantly Austrian wine. However, thanks to its popularity it is also being grown in neighbouring countries like the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. Further afield, Canada has also started growing Zweigelt as the climate matches that of Austria and works well for this grape.
And that’s it! Cheers!