or Blauer Zweigelt

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

(formerly Rotburger), is Austria’s most popular dark-berried grape variety planted on 6,539 ha/16,151 acres in 2013, even though this cross was bred only relatively recently, by a Dr Zweigelt at the klosterneuburg research station in 1922. It is a blaufränkisch × st-laurent cross that at its best combines some of the bite of the first with the elegance of the second, although it is sometimes encouraged to produce too much dilute wine. It is popular with growers because it ripens earlier than Blaufränkisch but buds rather later than St-Laurent, thereby tending to yield generously. It is widely grown throughout all Austrian wine regions and can increasingly make a serious, age-worthy, exuberantly fruity wine, even though most examples are best drunk young. So successful has it been in Austria that the variety is also popular over the border in the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as in western Hungary. It has also been planted in British Columbia and, surprisingly widely, on Hokkaido in japan. The export fortunes of the variety may, oddly enough, be hampered by its originator’s uncompromisingly Germanic surname. If only he had been called Dr Pinot Noir.