As Anne Kriebiehl MW stated right at the beginning, Zweigelt was created from a Blaufränkisch and St Laurent crossing and combines the positive qualities of the two varieties on the one hand and, on the other, forms the Austrian red wine holy trinity along with them.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Interestingly, Blaufränkisch has now become an Austrian black grape variety in the eyes of the world, which is not surprising given the Burgenland’s efforts in this respect and where it is the most common black variety here by far. However, we also just heard from one Burgenland producer that Blaufränkisch was rather originally Kékfrankos and rather Hungarian and had always been planted on the slopes next to the Pannonian region, only the Hungarians have not invested anywhere near as much money and time into the variety and its marketing as the Austrians. This line of thought would in itself warrant a mass being said as the Hungarian city of Sopron was once the capital of Burgenland and known as Ödenburg and even today in Hungary calls itself the Kékfrankos Capital.

But back to Zweigelt, which Prof Zweigelt crossed in 1922 in Klosterneuburg, but the name was Rotburger at that time. The latter is a must-see, not only because of its abbey but also because of the vine breeding centre. The variety has borne the name of its crosser since 1975 at the suggestion of Lens Mozer!

Nowadays, Zweigelt is Austria’s most common black grape variety, with 6,426 hectares cultivated in Austria, representing 13.8% of its total vineyard area.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Wine&Partners put together an amazing Zweigelt tasting at the 2018 VieVinum. We tasted the 26 wines blind in five flights along different themes. My tasting notes follow the original themes and order, the points are my own and since it was a blind tasting, they are unbiased figures. I’ve indicated the wine region the wine originates from in brackets after the winery’s name.

Flight 1: Stylistic Versatility of Zweigelt

Weingut Walter Glatzer (Carnuntum) - Rubin Carnuntum 2015   I 86 points
Light, fruity nose of mainly cherries and touch of cloves and pepper. Very pale in colour. Light on the palate too, with fresh acidity and lovely fruit. Very drinkable, the variety’s light face, with a medium finish.

Weingut Familie Pitnauer (Carnuntum) - Bienenfresser 2015   I 87 points
Ripe plum and sour cherry, a sweet biscuity note and plum dumplings on the nose. Medium body, lovely acidity, sour cherry and cherry, plum and marzipan on the palate. Firm tannins, which are very slightly drying. Medium to long finish.

Weingut Pöckl (Burgenland) - Zweigelt Classique 2015   I 85 points
Herbs, dried flower and plum on the nose. Medium to full bodied with attractive acidity and slightly angular tannins. Flavours of red berries and spice, the tannins are grippy on the finish.

Weingut Hannes Reeh (Burgenland) - Unplugged 2015   I 86 points
Aromas of barrel spice, vanilla, clove and star anise. Similarly, on the palate, the fruit recedes into the background. Full body with lovely acidity with lots of raw tannins throughout. There is a market in the world where this wine could be successful.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Schwarz Wein (Burgenland) - Schwarz Rot 2015   I 89 points
Lovely nose with ripe fruit, plum, blackberry, sour cherry and a touch of jamminess. Full bodied with flowers and fruit alternating on the palate. Mouth-filling and complex wine with vibrantly exciting character.

Flight 2: Wines from the lake - Neusiedlersee DAC

Weingut PMC Münzenrieder (Neusiedlersee DAC) - Neusiedlersee DAC 2015   I 87 points
Interesting nose of sour cherry, raspberry and salt in the background. Similar on the palate – fresh and light with plenty of fruit, with the saltiness appearing here too. Very drinkable.

Weingut Keringer (Neusiedlersee DAC) - Neusiedlersee DAC 2016   I 85 points
Restrained nose with a little sour cherry. Medium bodied with lively acidity and flavours of sour cherry and cherry. Relatively simple wine with a spicy, peppery finish. Still very young.

Artisan Wines DI Franz Schneider (Neusiedlersee DAC) - Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve 2014   I 86 points
Purple flowers and herbs along with some straw on the nose. Notes of overripe fruit on the palate with a little marzipan in the background, yet medium bodied with steely acidity. Unbeatable vintage.

Weingut Kiss (Neusiedlersee DAC) - Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve Waldacker 2015   I 88 points
Spicy oak, vanilla and clove on the nose. Denser on the palate than the previous ones, with a medium to full body and silky tannins. Sweet spices and ripe black and red berry fruit also emerge on the palate. Long finish. Lovely wine.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Weingut Hans & Christine Nittnaus (Neusiedlersee DAC) - Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve Luckenwald 2015   I 87 points
Plum, sour cherry and a little barnyard character on the nose. Full-bodied wine with a warming character, slightly grippy tannins and flavours of ripe fruit. Long finish. I’d lay it down for a few years before drinking due to its tannins.

Flight 3.: The diversity of Austrian regions

Weingut Christ (Wien) - Bisamberg 2015   I 85 points
Fresh nose of red berries, cherry and a touch of rosehip. This is similar on the palate. Fresh, light but linear, fruity and somewhat acidity-driven. Medium to long finish. Tannins also dominate on the finish. Good food wine.

Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg (Niederösterreich) - Zweigelt Reserve 2015   I 88 points
Barnyard on the nose at first glance, with red berry fruit in the background. Light on the palate with lively acidity and no trace of the barnyard character on the palate, just red berry fruit, lovely tannins and a long, elegant finish.

Weingut Johanneshof Reinisch (Thermenregion) - Frauenfeld 2015   I 90 points
Sweet, ripe fruit on the nose. Medium to full body with elegant acidity and structure. Ripe fruit and tannins on the palate, everything is very round, there’s nothing to pick fault with. Perfectly proportioned and well balanced.

Weingut Leth (Wagram) - Gigama, Grande Reserve 2015   I 89 points
Vanilla on the nose. Lots of vanilla. The palate is also clearly led by the vanilla note with black berry fruit and marzipan in the background. Lovely acidity, with blackberry and ripe tannins on the finish. Aromatic French-style wine.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Weingut Winkler-Hermaden (Vulkanland Steiermark) - Olivin 2015   I 87 points
Restrained rather smoky nose with hibiscus and other flowers in the background. Silky tannins, medium body and smooth acidity. Fruity and floral on the palate, with the tannins becoming a little grippy on the finish.

Flight 4.: Single vineyards in Carnuntum

Franz & Christine Netzl (Carnuntum) - Ried Haidacker Göttlesbrunn 2015   I 92 points
Ripe, fresh cherry, sweet freshness and juicy character. Medium bodied on the palate, elegant acidity, explosive fruitiness and firm tannins. Very long finish. A wine can be considered “great” when I’d ask for another glass of it at any time!

Weingut Taferner (Carnuntum) - Ried Barnreiser Höflein 2015   I 91 points
Spicy nose, somewhat reminiscent of a Kadarka with a little pepper, elderberry and red berry fruit. Medium to full body with serious but ripe tannins, dark Mediterranean fruitiness with chocolate, black berry fruit and spice. Will be a long-lived wine!

Weingut Gerhard Markowitsch (Carnuntum) - Ried Kirchweingarten Höflein 2015   I 90 points
Some barnyard and leather notes on the nose, complemented by a hint of raspberries dusted with icing sugar. Full bodied with bright acidity and plenty of black berry fruit on the palate. Lovely ripe tannins and a long finish. Luxuriant and lush character, very exciting!

Weingut Payr (Carnuntum) - Ried Steinacker Höflein 2015   I 84 points
Barrel spices on the nose, toasted oak, caramel and toast. Full body, drying tannins, smooth acidity. Flavours of oak, vanilla, star anise and clove. Oaky finish.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Weingut Grassl (Carnuntum) - Ried Schüttenberg Göttlesbrunn 2015   I 87 points
Restrained nose with some fruit. Salty and fruity notes on the palate, attractive acidity and youthful vitality with a medium to long finish. Very drinkable.

Flight 5: Mature wines from Neusiedlersee

Weingut Robert Goldenits (Neusiedlersee DAC) - 65 Neusiedlersee DAC Reserve 2012   I 88 points
Preserved sour cherries and purple flowers on the nose. Medium to full body with lovely acidity. Ripe fruit on the palate with an elegant structure and medium to long finish. Very drinkable.

Weingut Scheiblhofer (Burgenland) - Ried Pradium 2013   I 90 points
Sensual nose of hibiscus and chocolate, orchid and all the sweet wilderness of an Amazonian jungle. Full bodied with bright acidity and flavours of ripe black berry fruit, mango and pineapple, flowers and chocolate. Complex and infinite.

Weingut Salzl Seewinkelhof (Burgenland) - Sacris 2011   I 91 points
Sour cherry soup with dill and blackberry yoghurt on the nose. Full bodied with bright acidity and beautiful maturity. Perhaps now at its peak, complex and fruity with a touch of coffee and ripe fruitiness. Fabulous wine!

Weingut Renner (Burgenland) - Altenberg 2010   I 92 points
Fresh and spicy nose with a hint of pepper, pink pepper and sweet smoke. Medium to full bodied with lively acidity. Plenty of red berry fruit and attractive spice. Vibrant, long and elegant.

Weingut Claus Preisinger (Burgenland) - Pannobile 2008   I 87 points
Ripe fruit, a little smoke, toast and fig on the nose. This repeats itself on the palate with some fig, cocoa and ripe sour cherry. Complex and very drinkable with a medium finish.

Weingut Umathum (Burgenland) - Ried Hallebühl 2007   I 88 points
Iron and ripe plum, plus some flintiness on the nose. Full bodied and round with lovely tannins, mature tertiary aromas and a long finish. It’s past its peak but still lovely.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey