December Wine of the Month--2016 HuM Hofer Zweigelt, Weinland, Austria

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  • By Randy Kemner
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December Wine of the Month--2016 HuM Hofer Zweigelt, Weinland, Austria

Pure Fun to Drink! A juicy, fresh-tasting red wine from Austria

To those of us whose formative wine experiences were the varietal wines of California, a liter bottle of a red wine called "Zweigelt" (ZVIE-gelt) is as foreign as it gets.  And I must admit, the easy drinking cross (Blaufrankish and St. Laurent created in 1922 by Dr. Zweigelt) is leaner than the majority of domestic wines, and fresher tasting, too.  The most popular red wine in Austria, Zweigelt is to Austria perhaps what Dornfelder is to Germany and Beaujolais is to France--an all-purpose workhorse that is as at home with a roasted chicken as it is with a hamburger. 


Hofer has been supplying us with our crisp dry white liters of Grüner Veltliner (another Austrian specialty we rarely see grown in the New World) for a few vintages, so when we sampled this wine at an L.A. tasting last summer, we knew this would be the kind of fruity, sassy, dependable red wine we could happily drink all during the holiday season and beyond. 


Hofer's Zweigelt has the character of a cool-weather red, as one can expect wines grown in the historic region near Vienna.  With an intriguing aroma of licorice, damp earth and something floral lurking about, the flavors also reflect those characteristics, and it's not at all sweet. 


The label, an orange-red landscape scene, looks particularly festive for this time of year, which is appropriate, since it's a good wine to serve at all smörgasbords, parties and any occasion that would call for Beaujolais.  For an interesting contrast in vintages, we also have the lighter-bodied 2017 vintage, also at $15.99 per liter.  Fascinating to taste side-by-side.

$15.99  per liter bottle    $191.88  per 12 bottle case


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