Origin: Austrian (formerly known as Rotburger), a relatively modern cross between Blaufränkisch and St-Laurent, created by Dr Fredrich Zweigelt in 1922

Grown: Austria mainly (most widespread red variety in Austria), but also Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Canada (British Colombia) and Australia (Adelaide)

Climate: Moderate, generally continental. Can handle cold winters

Soil: Grows well in chalky soils, sensitive to potassium deficiency

Viticulture: Buds late and ripens early. Fertile grape, demands canopy management and yield regulation to produce good quality

Vinification: Suitable both for processing on only stainless steel (especially if yields were high), as well as some maturation on oak barrels. Depending on initial structure of the wine

General Personality:

  • Colour: Dark violet-red colour
  • Aromas: Morello cherries, raspberries, violets, cinnamon, liquorice and black pepper
  • Taste and Texture: Soft tannins, balanced acidity, moderate alcohol
  • Conclusion: Adaptable wine. Depending on the farmer and the winemaker it can range from something fresh and easy drinking, to something complex and interesting. Zweigelt, by nature, is not meant for making heavy red wines. Best comparisons are Pinot Noir and Barbera, it has a rich tannin structure, soft acidity, and generally a low and balanced alcohol. Making it rich and soft, and very drinkable
  • Future: Not one to wait for, generally made to be drunk young, or within the first three to five years

Food pairings:

  • General: Light and pleasing is probably the best way to describe Zweigelt in general, making it a perfect summer wine. But there are some well-made examples where the focus is on the spices, which can easily stand up to heavier dishes. Generally though, a picknick and summer barbecue wine, especially when we are focusing on more vegetable-based dishes
  • Obvious pairing: Club Sandwich
    Like I said, it is a perfect picknick wine, and what is more picknick than a traditional club sandwich. And nowadays you can (in the western world at least) find a mix of vegan charcuteries, cheeses and mayonnaises making it a breeze to put together your own deluxe Club Sandwich. Or if you feel ambitious or want to show off, you can make your own components making your own coconut bacon, tofu chicken, and homemade mayonnaise with Aquafaba (chickpea water). That is all up to you, do not be afraid to be creative. The Zweigelt will be there to catch you either way!
  • On the wild side: Crispy Korean BBQ
    Sine the alcohol in Zweigelt in general is low to medium, it can handle spicier dishes (not too hot though! No wine containing alcohol will match a truly spicy dish, but some chili applied sparsely can make for an intrusting combination). This simple Korean BBQ recipe is a good example of that! Serve it with traditional rice, or maybe something a bit more inspired, like a potato salad on a picknick or for that matter in some pita bread with a fresh salad. Hard to go wrong here!