Berger Zweigelt (1 Liter) 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a father/son estate of fourteen hectares. Half of the land consists of south-facing loess terraces with locally renowned names. Vines are Riesling, Veltliner, Pinot Blanc and the “C” word. There’s some land on the Gedersdorf plateau that’s planted to red varieties. All the wines are made dry, of course. They use cultured yeasts to get slow fermentations and to preserve the utmost CO2. Berger is all stainless steel, of course. Technology for controlling fermentation temperatures, by no means universal in Austria, has been in use here since 1990.
Appreciated for superior wines made from indigenous varieties, Austria should be on the radar of any curious wine drinker. A rather cool and dry wine growing region, this country produces wine that is quintessentially European in style: food-friendly with racy acidity, moderate alcohol and fresh fruit flavors.
Austria’s viticultural history is rich and vast, dating back to Celtic tribes with first written record of winemaking starting with the Romans. But the 20th century brought Austria a series of winemaking obstacles, namely the plunder of both world wars, as well as its own self-imposed quality breach. In the mid 1980s, after a handful of shameless vintners were found to have added diethylene glycol (a toxic substance) to their sweet wines to imitate the unctuous qualities imparted by botrytis, Austria’s credibility as a wine-producing country was compromised. While no one was harmed, the incident forced the country to rebound and recover stronger than ever. By the 1990s, Austria was back on the playing field with exports and today is prized globally for its quality standards and dedication to purity and excellence.
Grüner Veltliner, known for its racy acidity and herbal, peppery aromatics, is Austria's most important white variety, comprising nearly a third of Austrian plantings. Riesling in Austria is high in quality but not quantity, planted on less than 5% of the country’s vineyard land. Austrian Rieslings are almost always dry and are full of bright citrus flavors and good acidity. Red varietal wines include the tart and peppery Zweigelt, spicy and dense Blaufränkisch and juicy Saint Laurent. These red varieties are also sometimes blended.
Austria’s most popular red variety, the Zweigelt grape can make a charmingly fruity, snappy and spicy wine ideal for summer sipping. Be on the lookout for the one-liter bottles—perfect for the barbecue! It is also capable of more serious, concentrated, age-worthy version that can withstand a short number of years of age. Somm Secret— While native to Austria, Zweigelt is actually a fairly recent cross bred by Dr. Zweigelt in 1922. He crossed two native varieties, Blaufränkisch, for its peppery bite, with St. Laurent, chosen for its elegance.