Austria may not be as well-known for its red wines as countries like France or Italy, but it has a rich and diverse wine culture that shouldn’t be overlooked. In this article, we will explore two of Austria’s most popular red wine varietals: Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch.
Zweigelt is a red wine grape variety that was created in Austria by Dr. Friedrich “Fritz” Zweigelt in the 1920s. It is a cross between two other grape varieties, St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch. The resulting wine is known for its deep color, moderate tannins, and vibrant fruit flavors.
Zweigelt is grown throughout Austria, but it is especially prominent in the regions of Burgenland and Niederösterreich. The wine produced from this grape is often described as medium-bodied with flavors of cherries, blackberries, and spices. It is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes, including roasted meats, game, and cheese.
Zweigelt and Food Pairing
Thanks to its bright fruit flavors and balanced acidity, Zweigelt is a great accompaniment to many different types of cuisine. Its elegant structure allows it to pair well with both lighter dishes, such as grilled chicken or salmon, as well as heartier fare like roasted lamb or beef.
If you’re in the mood for something vegetarian, Zweigelt also works well with dishes like mushroom risotto or roasted vegetable medleys. The wine’s vibrant fruit flavors complement the earthy and savory notes found in these dishes.
For a more casual pairing, consider enjoying a glass of Zweigelt with charcuterie, soft cheeses, or even pizza. The wine’s versatility shines through in these simple yet satisfying pairings.
Blaufränkisch is another red grape variety that is native to Austria. It is grown primarily in the Burgenland region, which is known for its warm climate and diverse terroir. The wine produced from Blaufränkisch grapes is known for its deep color, intense flavors, and complex aromas.
The flavor profile of Blaufränkisch often includes notes of dark berries, cherries, and spices, with a hint of herbal and earthy undertones. The wine can range from medium to full-bodied, depending on the winemaker’s style and the specific vineyard site. It typically exhibits a good balance of acidity and tannins.
Blaufränkisch and Food Pairing
Blaufränkisch’s rich flavors and structure make it an excellent pairing for hearty and flavorful dishes. Its medium to full-bodied nature stands up well to roasted meats, such as beef, lamb, or game. The wine’s bold flavors and firm tannins complement the richness and complexity of these dishes.
For a more adventurous pairing, try Blaufränkisch with dishes that have spice and heat, such as Indian or Moroccan cuisine. The wine’s fruit flavors and spicy undertones can help balance out the flavors and add a new dimension to the meal.
If you prefer vegetarian options, Blaufränkisch can be enjoyed with dishes like stuffed mushrooms, lentil stew, or ratatouille. The wine’s herbal and earthy flavors pair well with the savory and earthy notes found in these dishes.
Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch are two red wine varietals that showcase the quality and diversity of Austria’s wine production. Whether you’re in the mood for a medium-bodied wine with vibrant fruit flavors (Zweigelt) or a bolder and more complex wine with intense flavors (Blaufränkisch), Austria has something to offer for every wine enthusiast.
Next time you’re exploring the world of wine, don’t forget to seek out these Austrian red wines and experience the unique flavors and characteristics they have to offer.