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Sekt & zweigeltness

Steininger 2008 Zweigelt Sekt (Austria) – Zweigelt is a grape that, while it maintains a Teutonic reserve and stiff upper, usually seems to be barely restraining a little explosion of laughter. Only the ravages of heavy wood and international blending grapes can really repress the undercurrent of fun. On the other hand, it’s possible to release too many inhibitions, and that’s what I feel is going on here. Tutti-frutti berries, an almost candied sweet-tartness, and an overdose of affected fun. While the medium-dark froth is a fun party guest, you’ll soon find yourself looking elsewhere for interesting conversation. (8/12)

Don’t ask zwei

Bründlmayer 2010 Zweigelt (Weinland) – Not a 750 ml, but instead a one-liter bottle, which is the perfect size for such an incredibly easy-drinking wine. Gentle blackberry, soft structure, hints of nerve without getting on any…the wine drains itself from the glass, until the bottle’s gone. And by the way, we need more liters of zweigelt. (7/12)

Netzl logic

Netzl 2009 “Rubin Carnuntum” Zweigelt (Carnuntum) – I’m consistently surprised at how some Austrian zweigelts are pushed into acrobatics I’m not sure zweigelt was ever mean to perform. It’s a worldwide disease, though – taking the indigenous and trying to fluff it up for the bright lights of the big city – and while it’s dismaying, one can’t really fault the commercial aspirations behind the impulse. There’s a middle ground, though, in which the grape is laden with aspirations but is not subject to a foreign finishing school somewhere near Nevers, and this is an example of same. The drippy black aromatics retain a certain floral aspect, there’s acid to counter the intense (but far from rich) fruit, and the structure is otherwise neither abrasive nor intrusive, though it’s quite clearly there. It’s a wine that goes down fairly easily, for all its muscularity, but when it has finished its descent one realizes that not much of note happened along the way. (5/12)

The middle of the back

Mittelbach 2010 Zweigelt Rosé (Lower Austria) – Rose petal, tart wild strawberry not entirely free of greenness, blushing hues and tones. And yet, icy despite the blush. Simple, with stirrings of prettiness. (7/11)


Preisinger 2008 Zweigelt (Burgenland) – Extremely aromatic, with a dark, purplish needling quality to the juicy blackberry fruit and a lot of succulent floral stuff chasing after it. Black pepper, too. A lack of density and crisp acidity remind the wine that it’s zweigelt rather than something lusher. Extremely appealing. (9/10)

Zwei settle for less?

[vineyard]Heinrich 2003 Zweigelt (Burgenland) – Despite the year, the wine’s youthfully delicate aromatics have firmed up to something more Bordeaux-like and masculine with age. But there’s been a simultaneous Balkanization of the wine’s former cohesiveness, and while nothing’s yet out of balance, I don’t think that state of affairs will last forever. Grey-black dust has been revealed by the splits and seams, though it was perceivable from the beginning, and the fruit-sweetness has faded. Aging this dubiously-ageable wine was an interesting experience, but I can’t say the result has been improvement. Just change. (5/09)

The extinction of the Auchs

Auchs 2006 Zweigelt (Burgenland) – When Austrian reds are performing at their best, and when the producer can resist the urge to cake on makeup, their aromatics are utterly enticing. Here, there’s herbs, dried flowers…perhaps even a touch of licorice? The palate starts out similarly dark, but then the crispness and zip come through, and it finishes lighter and cleaner than the nose would suggest. Tasty wine, though I think it would be even better with food. (5/08)