Tasted for our Wine Focus for May 2017, Wines of Austria, here’s a popular Austrian red that I’ve enjoyed in several vintages. While past bottlings have been labeled from the Kremstal region, this label claims only “Lower Austria.” Nevertheless, it is very similar in style to the 2013 bottling reported last August. It’s a clear ruby color, not too dark, almost transparent at the edge with bright crimson glints against the light. Red-berry and tart cherry aromas fill the glass, giving way to tart cranberry fruit on the palate, mouth-watering acidity and just a whiff of soft tannins in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Skurnik Wines, NYC., a Terry Theise Estate Selection. (April 29, 2017)
FOOD MATCH: It went very well with garlicky, fennel-scented sausages with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Its food-friendly acidity would fare well against a broad range of fare, from burgers and hot dogs at a summer picnic to pork chops, ham, or cheese dishes.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s not a long-term keeper, but the beer-bottle-type crown cap on earlier vintages has given way to a sturdy metal screw cap, which may provide greater protection over two or three years.
$12 average U.S. retail on Wine-Searcher.com, but prices vary widely around the country, all the way from $13 to $19, so it’s worth shopping around. Still, with this liter bottle containing fully one-third more than a standard bottle, it’s a very good value even in the middle to upper teens.
Here’s an importer’s fact sheet on Weingut Erich & Maria Berger. This page offers links to all the Berger wines, including the 2014 and 2016 Zweigelt.
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