It can be a quandary.
It’s hot outside. You’re standing by the grill, ready to throw a big piece of red meat on the grate, and a nice glass of red wine would go perfectly with the meal. The classic pairing might be Syrah or Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. Nothing against any of them, but those varietals, though great with steaks and roasts, tend to be tannic and “hot,” meaning higher in alcohol — not always great when the mercury is registering 90-plus degrees.
What to do?
Reach for a bottle of Zweigelt.
Never heard of it? Zweigelt is an Austrian grape variety noted for its light tannin, light body, low alcohol, medium acidity and medium flavor intensity of cherries in varying stages of ripeness. It has enough heft to stand up to red meat with enough restraint to take on a slight chill, which makes it delightful on a hot summer day. If you know someone who doesn’t like reds because they’re “too big,” pour them a glass of Zweigelt. They might be surprised.
What is Zweigelt?
Zweigelt is the most widespread red wine grape planted in Austria and was developed in 1922 by Dr. Fritz Zweigelt, who crossed St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch. That’s the wine geeks’ definition. For the rest of us, the definition of Zweigelt is: it’s delicious.
Where to find Zweigelt?
It’s not an easy variety to find at your neighborhood mega mart, but if a cookout is in your immediate future, ask the manager of your favorite wine store.
Which Zweigelt is worth finding?
Zantho from Burgenland — Austria’s warmest wine growing region. Light ruby core with a rose-colored rim, aromas of cherries, cocoa, dried herbs and raspberries. Clean on the palate with medium acidity, spicy notes, blackberries and black licorice. Low alcohol and low tannin with a medium finish.
Besides it being so easy to drink, Zweigelt generally is not expensive. Zantho Zweigelt, for instance, averages about $15 a bottle, according to Snooth.com.
Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name intimidate you. Zweigelt (TSVYE-gelt) is immensely approachable. Give it a try this summer.