A Wine Lover’s Weekly Review Of $10 Wine – A Red Zweigelt From Austria

I think this is our very first Austrian red. Even if this is the nation’s most widely planted red grape, few people have ever heard of Zweigelt. It is is a crossing of the local Blaufraenkish and St Laurent, a little-known relative of Pinot Noir, which is the most planted red grape in the Czech Republic. Now if the Czechs could do wine as well as they beer… Zweigelt was developed by a wine expert of the same name. His career ended with Austria’s defeat in World War II, if you get my drift. This wine comes from the eastern Niederoesterreich region, which has made wine for well over 2400 years. The Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter website is German-language only. They make some dozen wines on their 28 hectares (about 70 acres) of vineyards. Our companion wine is an organic red blend from the up and coming Languedoc-Roussillon region of southeastern France costing about 50% more.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Zvy-Gelt Zweigelt 2008 13.0 % alcohol about $10.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Bright ruby in color; aromas of cherries and earthy spice; dry, medium-bodied with balanced acidity; flavors of ripe cherry, herb and oaky berry spice with a medium-long bright finish. Serving Suggestion: Serve with grilled merguez lamb sausage or roasted chicken.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine presented dark cherries. It was mild and yet rather sour. Japanese rice crackers did not have much effect on its acidity, but ZZ could handle Wasabi peas. The initial meal centered on broiled beef ribs. The drink responded with a tinge of cherries. Its length was moderate and the now mild acidity handled the fatty meat well. In the face of potato salad with pickles this libation became long. It showed good balance upon pairing with eggplant and mushrooms. I finished the meat with a generous dousing of Louisiana hot sauce and our Austrian red integrated the pepperiness.

My next meal consisted of no cheese ground beef lasagna made with spicy salsa. This wine offered good acidity that worked well with the spices, dark cherries, and pleasant tannins. Dessert consisted of bittersweet chocolate that thinned and muted the liquid whose acidity did come through.

The final meal featured baked Ziti Siciliano accompanied by a generous portion of grated Parmesan cheese. The libation responded with lots of plums and light acidity. It was somewhat sweet and fairly long. Fresh strawberries made this wine virtually disappear. The other dessert was an almost sinful Ferro-Rocher hazelnut candy. Now the wine was long and melded well with the sweetness. It had good acidity.

Final verdict. I will not be buying this wine again. The pairings were too hit and miss. I’m still waiting for a grape crossing that’s worth my while.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com.

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