This spring looks set to be an exciting time for Hahndorf Hill as we will not only release our new ‘GRU’ Gruner Veltliner 2012, we will also release our debut ‘Zsa Zsa’ Zweigelt Rosé 2012.
Zweigelt is the most widely planted red grape in Austria, but it is also grown in lesser amounts in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada and now here in the Adelaide Hills of Australia!
The grape was created in 1922 when an Austrian scientist, Dr Friedrich Zweigelt, crossed Blaufrankisch – the prestige red grape of Austria which has grown there for over 1200 years – with Saint Laurent, which is a relative of Pinot Noir.
The new Zweigelt grape soon became extremely popular with Austrian vignerons as it proved to be disease-hardy, frost and drought resistant, early to harvest and generous with its yield. It produced wines that were decidedly fresh and lithe, with luscious cherry flavours and an exotic spicy component.
While the Zweigelt grape is predominantly used in Austria to make a mono-varietal wine, it is also used as a successful blender with Blaufrankisch or with the classic French varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
But, Zweigelt has also developed a reputation in its home country for making a seductive, textural Rosé – hence our decision to use it to create the debut Hahndorf Hill ‘Zsa Zsa’ Zweigelt Rosé 2012, which we think is possibly the first production of Zweigelt in Australia!
This maiden vintage of ‘Zsa Zsa’ was made from hand-harvested grapes that were crushed and allowed eight hours skin contact. The juice was then wild-fermented in old French oak.
The colour is a vibrant watermelon-juice hue and the nose has fresh cherries and melon aromas. It is full and unctuous on the palate but perfectly balanced by a vibrant, flinty, mouthful of tart cherries and crushed pomegranate pips, an exciting mineral component and a rich textural finish.
This is a serious rosé that, I suspect, will evolve and continue to develop over the years.