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Fleshy, plump and ripe for the picking, the 2002 Heinrich Zweigelt recalls all the best attributes of Heinrich's splendid 2001 Zweigelt but with even more fruit and warmth than its predecessor. Moreover, this wine has critics rightfully proclaiming the virtues of Zweigelt, Austria's very own varietal. Wrapped in a regal purple robe, the 2002 Heinrich possesses all the charming vinosity of Grand Cru Beaujolais but with more bouquet, body, power and punch. The Heinrich Zweigelt offers up scents of crushed raspberry and plum, along with a subtle spiciness. And not surprisingly, it is already round and generous in the mouth, and quite easy to drink. We suggest you serve the Heinrich Zweigelt cool but not chilled, allowing it to open slowly in your glass.
Certainly, Austrian Schnitzels and traditional German fare, such as Sauerbraten or Black Forest Ham offer wonderful accompaniments to the 2002 Heinrich Zweigelt. Yet, the Heinrich Zweigelt provides a wonderful partner to many, more eclectic dishes, too. Grilled Smoked Chicken Breast, served with lentils; a thick Split Pea Soup, served with slices of white Vermont Cheddar and Pumpernickel Bread; Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Risotto; and even a Seafood Pasta in a light cream sauce present other tasty combinations for the hungry palate. We even suggest the Heinrich Zweigelt with burgers; it can turn an outdoor cookout into a memorable meal. A plate full of American or European artisan cheeses is another pretty fine way to drain a bottle of this comely Austrian beauty. For other specific cheese suggestions, why not check out this month's Cheese of the Month offerings at www.monthlyclubs.com.
The Heinrich story is a happy one, the age-old tale of a small family owned winery that for generations produces simple, tasty wines for family and friends, while selling the balance in bulk, until suddenly it emerges in a new generation as a dynamic tour de force in winemaking. In the case of the Heinrich winery, in less than a decade, the young Gernot Heinrich has established his family estate as one of the most exciting producers in Austria. In Heinrich's case, leaving his native Austria has been the catalyst for success. After an extensive stint of study abroad, where Gernot gained an understanding of the place of wine in the world and the demands of a discerning international clientele, he returned home to his family's winery and began turning out limited quantities of exemplary wines, all from native varietals. Gernot was determined to concentrate on traditional varietals, but with the goal of vinifying them in a more contemporary and international style. This bent has translated into less rustic wines, with more body and fruit, and far less tannin in short, more charming and harmonious wines. Heinrich's tiny Burgenland estate comprises a mere 10 hectares (22 acres), and though this small winery would seem to have approached its potential, with the production of a half dozen traditional varietals, led by Zweigelt, Blaufrankisch and Weissburgunder, Gernot is not content to stop with his present success. Recently, he planted Merlot, Syrah, and Pinot Noir; and he is completing the construction of a whole new winery. Happily, we have more to look forward to from this young, energetic producer.
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