While Blaufränkisch is the cultivar of the moment in the warmer zones of Austria and those nearby, in eastern Europe, Zweigelt is a more widely planted popular red skinned grape variety. The chief reason for this is that Zweigelt ripens earlier than Blaufränkisch, yet buds later than the other local cultivar, St. Laurent. In doing so, Zweigelt's physiognomy obviates the risk of early Spring frost and the repercussions for yield and wine quality. Zweigelt can be appropriated therefore, to a wider range of climates and soil types than the other local grape varieties.
Zweigelt is a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. This sturdy and high yielding grape variety was propagated by the immodest Dr. Zweigelt, as recently as 1922. The commercial impact of Zweigelt was swift and largely positive. This is because it combines the crunchy structural qualities of Blaufränkisch, with the aromatic elegance of St. Laurent. However, Zweigelt's fecundity risks insipid wines if not handled judiciously.
While Zweigelt is capable of structured and highly ageable wines, it is largely crafted in a fruity and aromatic idiom that is best consumed young. Indeed, the variety's success has seen experimental plantings in neighbouring Germany, but also as far afield as Japan. Fortunately, in these cultures, the uncompromisingly Germanic name of the grape is not perceived as detrimental to its marketability.