Grape Varieties Y-Z Zweigelt

Zweigelt Wine

Zweigelt - a crossing of Saint-Laurent with Blaufrankisch, created in 1922 - is the most widely planted red-wine grape in Austria. It's popularity is demonstrated with the variety grown in every Austrian wine region and the finest examples coming from Burgenland, particularly the Neusiedlersee. A classic Austrian Zweigelt is richly colored with a deep, bright core of spiced cherry and raspberry flavors. The finest examples have the potential to cellar well for a decade or so, but the majority are best consumed within a few years of release.

Although varietal Zweigelt wines are very common, the grape is also commonly used in blends. It is often combined with Cabernet and Merlot to create an Austrian twist on the classic Bordeaux Blend. Just as commonly it is married with its parent-variety Blaufrankisch for a pure-blooded (if somewhat incestuous) all-star Austrian blend.

A Zweigelt wine label

Not just limited to dry styles, Zweigelt is used to produce sweet wines in various forms. The world's most expensive wines made from Zweigelt are either strohwein made from dried grapes, or ice wine. And these are not just limited to Austrian vineyards; at least one top-end Zweigelt ice wine is produced in Canada's Okanagan Valley.

Zweigelt was developed by Dr Friedrich "Fritz" Zweigelt, who originally named it Rotburger. This led to confusion with an entirely distinct variety (see Rotberger) created at around the same time in Geisenheim, Germany. It wasn't until the 1970s that this duplication was finally resolved, when Dr Zweigelt's variety was renamed "Zweigelt" by the influential Austrian winemaker Lenz Moser.

A truly successful crossing, Zweigelt has inherited desirable characteristics from both of its parent varieties (see Saint-Laurent and Blaufrankisch). From Saint-Laurent it gets its bright, Pinot-like cherry aromas and the ability to create silky, elegant wines. From Blaufrankisch it has taken a certain spiciness and good acidity. Both parents are capable of creating wines with deep, rich purple-crimson coloring, so it is no surprise that Zweigelt wines tend to very richly colored; the best have a dark, brooding appearance in the glass. Unfortunately, this latter characteristic creates a natural temptation for some winemakers to overcrop their Zweigelt vines, resulting in wines with acceptable depth of color but rather diluted flavors and aromas. Austria's relatively stringent wine laws have helped keep yields in check to a certain extent, but there are still marked differences between those Zweigelts from high-yielding vineyards and those made by more quality-conscious producers.

A key indicator of Zweigelt's success as a crossing is that it has now become parent variety itself, most notably with Cabernet Franc to create Cabernet Moravia, but also with Rathay to create Austria's little-known Roesler.

Because Zweigelt buds later than Saint-Laurent and ripens earlier than Blaufrankisch, it provides a kind of insurance policy in the vineyard. While the other two varieties are susceptible to harsh weather conditions (spring frost and autumn rain respectively), Zweigelt vines typically dodge these seasonal threats. Zweigelt also has the advantage of being a high-yielding variety, further contributing to its popularity with winegrowers.

Thanks to Zweigelt's popularity in Austria, the variety is now becoming popular in the Czech RepublicGermanyHungary and Slovakia. Small-scale plantings have also been trialed further afield, in Canada, Japan and England.

Synonyms include: Blauer Zweigelt, Zweigltrebe, Rotburger.

Food pairings for Zweigelt include:

  • Roasted ham hock
  • Grilled sausages with mustard
  • Duck confit
Production by region Expand/collapse

Most Popular Zweigelt Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Region
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Weingut Hans Johann Schwarz 'Schwarz Rot', Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 11,317th 91 $57
Weingut Umathum Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 20,463rd 89 $14
Weingut Hannes Reeh 'Unplugged' Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 24,998th 90 $22
Weingut Johannes Trapl Zweigelt, Carnuntum, Austria Carnuntum 25,776th $19
Zantho Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 32,361st 88 $11
Lenz Moser Selection Blauer Zweigelt Qualitatswein, Niederosterreich, Austria Niederosterreich [Lower Austria] 33,565th 87 $7
Summerhill Pyramid Winery Zweigelt Icewine, Okanagan Valley, Canada Okanagan Valley 44,104th $65
Weingut Umathum Ried Hallebuehl, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 48,338th 90 $51
Weingut Anita und Hans Nittnaus Blauer Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 49,363rd 89 $12
Weingut Gernot and Heike Heinrich Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 49,363rd 89 $15
Weingut Keringer Zweigelt, Neusiedlersee, Austria Neusiedlersee 50,322nd 88 $8
Schloss Gobelsburg Domaene Gobelsburg Zweigelt, Niederosterreich, Austria Niederosterreich [Lower Austria] 56,025th 87 $15
Weingut R & A Pfaffl 'Vom Haus' Zweigelt, Niederosterreich, Austria Niederosterreich [Lower Austria] 56,025th 89 $10
Weingut Leth Tregrande Reserve Blauer Zweigelt, Wagram, Austria Wagram 56,025th 88 $17
Weingut Renner Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 57,361st 89 $24
Willi Opitz 'Opitz One', Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 58,741st 91 $602
Weingut Jordan - Hiller Rubin Reserve Zweigelt, Niederosterreich, Austria Niederosterreich [Lower Austria] 58,741st 89 $22
Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Kollektion Zweigelt Trockenbeerenauslese, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 60,162nd 93 $83
Biohof Pratsch Rose, Niederosterreich, Austria Niederosterreich [Lower Austria] 61,675th 88 $14
Leo Hillinger 'Hill Liter' Zweigelt, Austria Austria 65,064th $6
Weingut Winkler-Hermaden Olivin STK, Steiermark, Austria Steiermark 65,064th 89 $24
Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl 'Rubin Carnuntum' Zweigelt Selection, Carnuntum, Austria Carnuntum 70,803rd 89 $14
Weingut Maria & Sepp Muster 'Graf' Zweigelt, Steiermark, Austria Steiermark 70,803rd 89 $42
Weinbau Erich Sattler Zweigelt, Burgenland, Austria Burgenland 72,964th 88 $17
Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Zweigelt Beerenauslese, Neusiedlersee, Austria Neusiedlersee 75,379th 91 $54
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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