Ecker Zweigelt (1 Liter) 2017
Mellow and round, but still absolute fruit, with some sweeter tertiary elements. You can see that St Laurent is a parent; it’s a little bloodier, but really this dialogue of warm and cool is soooooo sexy; the wine just delivers and it seems to give energy instead of sapping it.
Bernhard took over winemaking in 1998, but the Ecker family has 400 years of history farming and raising animals in the area. Since 2004, Bernhard has been the chairman of the “Wagramer Selektion,” the second oldest winery association in Austria.
Ecker’s 30 individual plots lie in some of the best locations around Kirchberg am Wagram, including 50 + year old grüner veltliner in the erste lage Mordthal. Ecker is a specialist in roter veltliner as well, and has helped save the plantings of this ancient variety, which have dwindled to under 200 hectares. Interestingly, roter veltliner is not directly related to grüner veltliner, but is a parent variety to many other indigenous Austrian varieties, including neuberger and rotgipfler. It requires poor soils, due to its vigor, and Ecker’s vines are planted in the rocky, gravel rich Steinberg.
Appreciated for superior wines made from indigenous varieties, Austria should be on the radar of any curious wine drinker. A rather cool and dry wine growing region, this country produces wine that is quintessentially European in style: food-friendly with racy acidity, moderate alcohol and fresh fruit flavors.
Austria’s viticultural history is rich and vast, dating back to Celtic tribes with first written record of winemaking starting with the Romans. But the 20th century brought Austria a series of winemaking obstacles, namely the plunder of both world wars, as well as its own self-imposed quality breach. In the mid 1980s, after a handful of shameless vintners were found to have added diethylene glycol (a toxic substance) to their sweet wines to imitate the unctuous qualities imparted by botrytis, Austria’s credibility as a wine-producing country was compromised. While no one was harmed, the incident forced the country to rebound and recover stronger than ever. By the 1990s, Austria was back on the playing field with exports and today is prized globally for its quality standards and dedication to purity and excellence.
Grüner Veltliner, known for its racy acidity and herbal, peppery aromatics, is Austria's most important white variety, comprising nearly a third of Austrian plantings. Riesling in Austria is high in quality but not quantity, planted on less than 5% of the country’s vineyard land. Austrian Rieslings are almost always dry and are full of bright citrus flavors and good acidity. Red varietal wines include the tart and peppery Zweigelt, spicy and dense Blaufränkisch and juicy Saint Laurent. These red varieties are also sometimes blended.
Austria’s most popular red variety, the Zweigelt grape can make a charmingly fruity, snappy and spicy wine ideal for summer sipping. Be on the lookout for the one-liter bottles—perfect for the barbecue! It is also capable of more serious, concentrated, age-worthy version that can withstand a short number of years of age. Somm Secret— While native to Austria, Zweigelt is actually a fairly recent cross bred by Dr. Zweigelt in 1922. He crossed two native varieties, Blaufränkisch, for its peppery bite, with St. Laurent, chosen for its elegance.