Austrians drink approximately 30 litres of wine per person a year which is twice as much as Canadians drink. More white is produced than red.
As for red wine Zweigelt is a popular red and is a cross between Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent and as stated in Karen MacNeil’s “The Wine Bible” the wine is “reminiscent of California’s Zinfandel; inky, fruity, with a briary edge.”
We try a Zantho Zweigelt Reserve 2017. It has a black cherry colour. On the nose smoky black cherry predominates. On the palate the tannins are fine and thin. The flavour profile is a bit of brackish infused cherry although there is a tad of date and the tiniest amount of cinnamon. The finish is short. Immaculately constructed it comes across as a pure, clean and simple wine. Its simplicity sets it apart from so many red wines one encounters these days. It is simply not making any attempt to be what it isn’t. I am afraid Karen I do not see any Zinfandel comparison. I would call it more of a lean Gamay.
I have not been to the winery and talked with the winemaker nor I have I been invited to Austria to do some extensive tastings so the memory bank may not be as full as I would like it to be for Austrian wines.
It has been some 30 years since I was in Austria so my knowledge of Austrian cuisine is bereft. What I would venture to say the gentle and fine tannic structure means avoid beef or any dish that is too rich. I’ll take the lunge and say go with a well-made vegetarian pizza with artichokes, green olives and Oyster Mushrooms. You can easily treat this as a sipping wine but with those that appreciate a pure and true wine not desperately trying to be a wine everyone likes because it is like the last wine and the wine before that they tried.
You can try and twist my arm and get me to say that this is an elegant wine and given that I am increasingly fed up with wines that taste like each other I am leaning towards a wine that is true to itself and not fouled by excessive winemaker manipulation and calling that wine pure and simple is what this wine deserves. If I could make a comparison to wine and film (which I also review) I would say it is Audrey Hepburn in the 1954 film “Sabrina” which must mean it is elegant.
(Zantho Reserve Zweigelt 2017, Burgenland, Austria, Burgenland, Qualitätswein Trocken, 15784, Andau, Austria, $ 24.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21141, 750 mL, 13.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 90/100).