Exploring Austrian Wine – Zweigelt

This week, I had the chance to attend a wonderful tasting hosted by Austrian Wine, the national service body for the Austrian wine industry.  The tasting focused on red wines of Austria and we were able to taste four flights of four different grapes.  We started the tasting with a grape that immediately grabbed my attention; Zweigelt.  I have had Zweigelt once or twice before but never really had the chance to dig into the nuances and characteristics of the grape.

Austrian Wine tasting hosted by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, and Patrick Farrell, MW.
Austrian Wine tasting hosted by Willi Klinger, Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, and Patrick Farrell, MW.

Zweigelt is the most widely planted red grape in Austria and is a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent.  I found the four Zweigelts we tasted to be fresh, pure, and great values.  Here are my tasting notes:

Getting ready to taste!
Getting ready to taste!

2012 Zantho Zweigelt

This unoaked wine offers tastes of red berries and spice along with balanced acidity.  The wine actually reminds me a bit of a Beaujolais.  Quite simple yet really fresh and enjoyable. (13% alcohol, $15)

2012 Claus Preisinger Zweigelt

Claus Preisinger’s Zweigelt is a bit fuller than the Zantho.  The nose is musty and there are tastes of cherry, plum, brett, and spice.  I would have like a bit more acid but still a very drinkable wine. (13.4% alcohol, $18)

2012 Münzenrieder Classic Zweigelt

The acidity definitely picked back up with the Münzenrieder Classic Zweigelt.  There were also floral notes intertwined with tastes of red berries and spice.  Fresh and a nice value! (13% alcohol, $13)

2012 Glatzer Riedencuvee Zweigelt

This wine opens with a medley of cherry, pomegranate, cinnamon, and floral aromas.  The refreshing palate offers tastes of red fruit and minerals along with a silkier, creamier texture than the other wines in the flight.  The most complex of the four! (13%, $18)

*Hosted tasting

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#Winechat – The Diversity of Riesling

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to join in with other wine writers and wine lovers to taste Riesling from three different regions.  We sampled Riesling from Alsace (France), Rheingau (Germany), and Kamptal (Austria).  Each wine was completely different from the others, showing the vast diversity of the Riesling grape.  Here are my tasting notes from the #Winechat Twitter event!

Three very diverse Rieslings
Three very diverse Rieslings

Alsace – Paul Blanck & Fils Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg 2010 

This Riesling opens with abundant citrus aromas.  The bright, balanced palate offers citrus and tropical fruit flavors and there is healthy acidity that gives the wine a nice lift through the tart, lengthy finish.  Full of character yet elegant! ($13% alcohol, $35)

Rheingau – Schloss Schönborn Riesling Kabinett Erbacher Macrobrunn 2011

Enticing aromas of green apples and tropical fruit jump out of the glass.  The palate is slightly sweet with tastes of green apples, pineapple, lime, and a touch of honey.  There is ample acidity present to balance the sweetness.  If you think you don’t like sweet Riesling, I am pretty sure this wine will change your mind! (9.5% alcohol, $24)

Kamptal – Brandl Riesling 2011 from the Heilingenstein 

This is the biggest and boldest Riesling of the lineup.  The wine begins with aromas of minerals and citrus.  The mineral-driven palate offers tastes of stone fruit, citrus, and ginger.  The palate also is a bit thicker than the other two wines of the evening.  I think this wine destroys any argument that Riesling is meek and mild.  (14% alcohol, $34)

*Media Samples

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Wine and Cheese Please- Laurenz V. 2009 Charming Grüner Veltliner

Cheese, cheese, cheese…after wine it is my second culinary love. As far as cheese goes, I am a sucker for any type made from goat’s milk (Cypress Grove’s “Truffle Tremor” and goat’s milk brie are my current faves). When it comes to pairing wine with goat cheese, Grüner Veltliner (with its healthy acidity) is a perfect match. Over the weekend, I had a chance to try Laurenz V. Charming Grüner Veltliner with an array of cheeses and I was not disappointed.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Laurenz V. 2009 Charming Grüner Veltliner is 100% Grüner Veltliner from the Kamptal region of Austria.  It has 13% alcohol and retails for around $28.  For more information see www.laurenzfive.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Grüner pours a pale gold in the glass.  The nose has abundant aromas of pear and spice.  This is not a timid wine.  Bold flavors of pear, melon, and apple are followed by a spicy, tangy finish.  Notes of lingering ginger and pear tingle your taste buds as you reach for another sip.  Plenty of acidity makes this Grüner very food friendly. 

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair with goat cheese, sushi, or curried tofu.

*This wine was sent to me as a media sample

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Get Your Grüner On- R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner

Have you ever tried Grüner Veltliner?  If not, you are missing out.  This Austrian wine is so food-friendly, crisp, and generally a great value.  I have been tasting several Grüners over the past few weeks and the most recent bottle I enjoyed is R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner.

About the Wine- From the Winery

R&A Pfaffl Haidviertel Grüner Veltliner is 100% Grüner Veltliner from the Weinviertel region of Austria (Austria’s largest wine growing region).  It has 12% alcohol and retails for around $19.  For more information visit the importer at www.PalmBay.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

This Grüner Veltliner pours a pale, golden-yellow in the glass.  Honeydew, lemon, and floral aromas pleasantly invite you to taste the wine.  Your mouth is met with crisp acidity and tastes of citrus and melon.  The tangy finish lingers and refreshes your palate.  A perfect wine for spring and summer dishes.

My Wine Rating- B+

Food Pairing Suggestions- Pairs perfectly with grilled tilapia, seafood salad, or sushi.

*This wine was sent to me as a media sample

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