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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Awesome Austrians Wine #1 - Zantho Zweigelt 2010

Zantho Zweigelt 2010 - Awesome Austrians Wine #1
A perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner!

100% Zweigelt from Burgenland, Austria.

SRP of $17 and available for as low as $12. Sample received courtesy Austrian Wine for review purposes.

From the bottle:
"Deep within the plains of the Seewinkel lies the village of Andau, which was first documented as Zantho in 1488. The region's gravelly soil, rich in minerals and iron, is ideal for producing high-quality red wines and for a rare genus of woodland lizard.

Josef Umathum and Wolfgang Peck make use of these optimum natural conditions to create wonderfully distinctive wines.

13.0% Alcohol"
Today we kick off a mini-series on the wines of Austria, which is a region we haven't delved into much here on The Reverse Wine Snob. Over the next few weeks I will be featuring 5 or 6 of my favorite red and white wines from this area.

While most immediately think of Gruner Veltliner when they think of this region, about 1/3 of the wine production in Austria is actually red wine. So to kick off the series, we are starting with the most popular red variety in the country, Zweigelt (Zvy-gelt). Not the best name for American consumers, I know, but don't let that stop you. Besides, Zweigelt is infinitely better than its original, and still occasionally used, name -- Rotburger.

Zweigelt is a grape indigenous to Austria, and in fact, it was actually created in Austria in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt. This was done by crossing two other indigenous grapes, St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch. Today Zweigelt accounts for about 14% of the total vineyard area in the country and about 40% of the red grape vineyard area. Today's selection comes from Burgenland which is the easternmost region of Austria right next to Slovakia and Hungary and the area where much of the country's red wine is produced.

The 2010 Zantho Zweigelt begins with spicy dark berry and cranberry aromas along with cinnamon and pepper. It needs a little time to breathe to really open up but then it is quite nice. A rather unique touch is that the bottle is sealed with a glass stopper rather than a cork. Tasting the wine reveals a creamy texture with flavors of smoky cranberry and other red berries, a little pepper and more baking spice. The slightly dry finish features more of the same flavors. This is really quite a nice wine and a great introduction to Austrian reds.

One other note -- my overwhelming thought when tasting this wine was that it would be perfect with many fall and winter meals, Thanksgiving dinner in particular, thanks to the cranberry and baking spice flavors. Just something to keep in mind as you do your wine shopping for all your holiday get-togethers, especially for your wine-loving friends and family that may not have tried this variety yet. Cheers!

Wine in the Awesome Austrians series:

See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.

Taste Rating: 7              Cost Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 7.0

Find out more about my rating system and check out the Wine Ranking to find all my reviews! You can sort by type of wine, cost, rating, etc. in the interactive database.



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