Thursday, January 12, 2012

Locally, Zweigelt

Lately, I run into Neck of the Woods winery at various tastings around town. As is the case for most new wineries, getting your name and your wine out there is a major part of the battle. Neck of the Woods took its place as the fourth winery in the Fraser Valley (less than an hour out of Vancouver proper) back in 2008 when the current owners purchased the old Glenugie Winery after the owner at the time unexpectedly passed away. The re-branding has been a continuing process in that the labels have already changed and that you'll no longer even find this wine - it appears that the name has been changed to a proprietary one, "Paradiso." I guess "Zweigelt" just brokers far too many dumbfounded questions.

1045. 2008 Neck of the Woods Zweigelt (VQA Fraser Valley)

Of course, regular readers of this blog know that Zweigelt is a varietal that is the most planted red grape in Austria. Yes, Austria - not Australia. It's a grape that likes cool climates and the Fraser Valley offers that up in spades. Vancouverites are still coming to grips with the fact that wine can actually be made just outside city limits, but the majority of those wines are white. That makes a fair bit of sense considering that the Fraser Valley weather is similar to those bastions of white wine - Germany and the Loire Valley in France.

Zweigelt is likely one of the few reds that can make a real go of it in the Fraser Valley. That is, "make a go of it," IF you can get the consumer past the varietal name "Zweigelt."

Whether or not the consumer can pronounce the name of the grape - by the way, it's "ts-VYE-gelt" - doesn't matter a whole lot if the wine doesn't taste good enough to make you buy a second bottle. Despite the fact that the vines providing the fruit for this wine are 20 years old and there was a "splash" of Okanagan Merlot added to the wine to flesh it out, I don't know that I was convinced.

With the whole, "Think Globally, Drink Locally" thing going on, I like the fact that I'm not going to get much more local than this bottle. However, despite a nice start on the nose, I wasn't so enthralled once I raised the glass to mouth. The wine was nicer with food - I'll give it that - but the basic profile hardly offered up much complexity. There was a bit of a savoury finish but that might have been the Okanagan Merlot kicking in.

I think this 2008 vintage was only $13. In our Vancouver market, that's definitely on the lower end of the scale. All the same, I think I'd be a little quicker to grab an Aussie or Argentine critter wine. The fact that the current price of the Paradiso version sells for $18 leaves me even a little less inclined to grab a second bottle.



  1. Just tried this bottle as it was a gift. Just as well as I certainly would not buy it. My home made was much nicer !! Worked just fine in my battery........

    1. Yeah, I hear you. I have had enjoyable Zweigelts as well though. Neck of the Woods is perhaps better known for their bubbly.