Johannes Zillinger, JZ Velue Zweigelt, 2020
Weinviertel, Niederösterreich, Austria
Ask Johannes about organics, biodynamics and natural winemaking and you'll find out he's not someone who's only recently jumped aboard the bandwagon. He described this style of grape-growing (actually, it's more farming than strictly growing grape vines) and winemaking as essential to who he is. His father, Hans, turned to organic viticulture in the early 80's and when Johannes took over this 350-year-old winery from him, he immediately sought to take the next leap forward with the biodynamic philosophy. His wines are certified Demeter biodynamic and he uses hundreds of biodynamic applications throughout the vineyards including growing his own herbs for tea tinctures to use as treatments. Again, this is a philosophy and mindset, not just something he does for practical business purposes.
Although he's a steadfast natural winemaker, the term low-intervention can be used somewhat interchangeably. The philosophy is guided by the work done in the vineyards and the idea is that if you do great work there, you can let the grapes speak for themselves during the winemaking process.
The Velue line of wines leans a little bit away from the hardcore definition of natural and more into that low-intervention style. Maybe you'd call it a lighter, easier-drinking line that's right on the money for that any day of the week glass. Zweigelt grapes are gently pressed, naturally fermented in big open vats and matured for 9 months in old oak barrels on the lees.
This is serving us all the fresh cherry, pomegranate and juicy raspberry that we can possibly handle. Fruity, mild, low in tannins, bright acidity and perfect length.
Perfect pairings: this is one of those rare reds that goes well with fish and shellfish like Greek baked fish with tomatoes and onions; lamb crusted with dried porcini and herbs; spicy Asian noodles; Huli Huli chicken; or a tuna Poke bowl.