Before buying this bottle of wine I must admit that I had never had a red wine from Austria. I didn’t even know what types of red grapes grew in Austria. But that is one of my favorite things about drinking wine; it opens you up to the world and offers you the chance to learn about a new country and culture.
In reality, Austria, the home to the famous wine glass markers Riedel, actually grows several different red wine varieties including Blauer Portugieser, Merlot, and Syrah. However, Zweigelt, a soft-tannis wine created in 1922 by crossing Blaufrankisch and St. Laurent, is the most populous red wine variety, making up 14% of the total vine share in Austria as of a 2009 vineyard land survey. Zweigelt is also common in blends and not limited to dry styles.
Featuring aromas of black cherries and damp spices, Hopler’s Pannonica Red Blend sipped perfectly as the sun started to set on a late summer night last week. The cool air complimented the flavors of anise spice, fig, tart raspberry and vibrant cherry while the soft texture, moderate acidity and medium body lingered. An easy drinking blend of Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, and Pinot Noir, the wine wasn’t too complicated, but still made you appreciate its nuances.
Hopler winery is located in the Austrian province of Burgenland along the shore of Lake Neusiedi. Exporting over 70% of its production, you can find this bottle of wine along with some of the winery’s white blends at your local wine store for a reasonable $10-$14.