People ask us all the time: What is wine’s next frontier? They remember when the Jura exploded on the scene. They watched prices of Northern Rhônes soar. What is next?
We don’t really know, of course. But there are a definitely a few categories that we’re keeping a close eye on. Greece is one. Another is what we’re calling “Teutonic Obscurities”: wines from Austria and Germany made from their many overlooked grape varieties.
Most of these non-famous grapes (basically, we’re talking about wines that aren’t made from the usual suspects like Riesling, Grüner, Spätburgunder, and Blaufränkisch) were for many years produced cheaply and industrially and entirely for local consumption.
But a younger, artisanally-minded generation has taken a keen interest in rediscovering these varieties and seeing them through to their full potential. These producers have been basically unknown here in the U.S., until like-minded importers started to take notice—people like Stephen Bitterolf, who discovered this amazing Zweigelt grown in Württemberg by Jochen Beurer.
Zweigelt, you might argue, is a pretty conventional grape. Plenty of it comes to America. It’s a big thing in Austria, right? Austria, yes. But not so much in Germany. There, it is a true obscurity. You see, Zweigelt was invented only in 1922, when an Austrian scientist (Dr. Zweigelt, of course) crossed St. Laurent with Blaufränkisch, and not many vines ever crossed the border into Germany.
But there are a few vines in Württemberg, the warmish southwest corner of Germany over by Baden and Alsace. There, red wine is the thing. But even in Württemberg, Zweigelt is only about 0.5% of the region’s total production. This really is a Teutonic Obscurity.
Jochen Beurer is a champion of Teutonic Obscurities. Has was also, at one point, an actual Teutonic champion: of BMX biking. But around 2001 he switched to biodynamic farming of grapes like Trollinger, Lemberger, Portugieser….and Zweigelt.
Now, we’re not just writing about Beurer and his Zweigelt because it’s Obscure. We think that Beurer could be at the cutting edge of something big. The Zweigelt tastes, frankly, awesome. We are all too used to more industrial examples of Zweigelt from Austria, which can seem to be a little…ketchupy. But this one is all clear and pure red berries, with just a touch of something smoky adding a little complexity.
In other words, you should drink this not just because it’s some kind of curiosity, but because it is a really lovely wine that is quite undervalued! And if this wasn’t enticing enough, we’ve discounted on just on one bottle so everyone can feel comfortable having a taste. Just use the discount code TEUTONIC at checkout. Good while supplies last.
Jochen Beurer, Zweigelt, 2015 – $22.99 $19.99
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