Despite being bred from a crossing of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent in 1922, Zweigelt is now the most widely planted red grape in Austria. Hardy, vigorous and productive, Zweigelt (or Blauer Zweigelt and Rotburger as it is also known) buds late and ripens early, which are very useful traits in the cool Austrian growing regions. Though it is at its best when yields are low, Zweigelt can be counted on to consistently produce medium bodied reds that have a nice mix of currants, herbs and tannins. From better sites and low yields some very rich and tannic reds can be produced that can take well to both barrel and bottle aging.
Zweigelt can be found throughout Austria, as well in the cool regions around the Great Lakes in North America. This grape does so well in cooler climates that there have been some plantings in England and Germany, with moderate success.