WWoW: Austrian Cherry, Niederosterreich Zweigelt, 2008
Wow, that’s a mouthful! Zweigelt has come a long way from its Frankenstein-ish, humble beginnings when in the 1920’s Dr. Fritz Zweigelt (Cue lightning bolts and screams of ‘IT’S ALIIIIIVVEEE!!!’) crossed the grapes Blaufrankish and St. Laurent. Zweigelt really only gained recognition after World War II but is now the most widely planted red grape varietal in all of Austria.
The versatility of the grape makes it quite attractive as well. It plays EXTREMEMLY well with others, having no problem existing in the background as a blending grape with either of its parent grapes (Blaufrankish & St. Laurent…Zweigelt: The Genetically Engineered Ego-Free Grape!) it also produces a zesty little wine when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.
I myself have an affinity for Zweigelt in its purest form, unimpeded by other grapes. Cherry and berry flavors abound with a really nice acidity that makes this quite an amazing ‘food’ wine. The Austrian Cherry brings the cherry (of course!) but also has a bit more complexity, offering hints of smoke and game. The contrast between the earthier components and its juicy cherry-ness creates a vibrant wine!
This is a red that masterfully pairs with red meats, pork AND seafood. It has something to please just about everyone and that alone makes it a bit weird! Enjoy.
Robert Wailes is the manager and head Adult Beverage Consultant for Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick bar in New Orleans. He has been interested in wine and adult beverages for as long as he can remember (seriously!).