On the fourth day of Austrian wine, my true love gave to me: Zweigelt! Only 89 years young, Zweigelt is yet another crowd-pleasing grape.

This little number is a cross between Balufrankisch and St. Laurent, originally created in 1922 by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt, though it was birthed under another name. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Zweigelt began to see the spotlight. Lenz Moser renamed the grape to the name it holds today and began exploring its finer qualities and increased its plantings greatly.

Today, Zweigelt accounts for the largest proportion of red grapes grown in the country and comes in second only to Gruner Veltliner for total hectares at just over 14%.

Zweigelt had many faces and can be vinified light and easy-drinkin, full-bodied and rich or anything in between. It also makes a perfect partner for cuvees as it is a natural choice to blend with St. Laurent or Blaufrankisch as well as Cabernet Sauvignon.

Overall, Zweigelt boasts a character full of sour cherries and red fruits and spice, exact character varies from region to region and bottle to bottle, though.

For the holidays, why not pick up a couple of bottles of Zweigelt? This grape is sure to keep you set from the appetizers through the main course and even into dessert if you’re lucky!

Photo credit: VOS Selections