Wines: Paul D., zweigelt

zweigelt-flasche-075lIt’s not easy to find good Austrian reds in New York, even harder to find Hungarian reds — they’re sadly underrated, and though Central European whites have some cachet, I find the drier warmth of the reds much more inviting. A visit to Cafe Katja is always rewarding when it comes to Austrian and Hungarian reds, but you need to engage on a treasure hunt to gather a few to bring home.

My own local liquor store is currently carrying a zweigelt from Paul D. (Paul Direder), a young vintner from Wagram, Austria. As this review from Wine Authorities testifies, “His first vintages were brilliant and he’s still just 20 years old. The family farm dates back to 1849 and Paul D. carries on the family’s agricultural name with none other than Anton Bauer as his mentor. Austria’s Zweigelt grape varietal is something like a zin/pinot noir/montepulciano. Spicy, medium to full-bodied, balanced raspberry fruit but not a drop of oak to be found here. Pure drinkability and a possible house red this summer.” A litre bottle is $14.99 at Seward Park Liquors, which also carries a few bottles of Hillinger and on occasion other Austrian reds. It’s my house wine this winter, so long as I can get it; now on to find the Hungarians …