The fledgling tendril poking out of the small root ball was supposed to be Merlot.
Planted in Nachez Heights, nurtured biodynamically and tended with great expectation, the vines proved three years later to be interlopers. Instead of the anticipated noble varietal, clusters of Zweigelt grapes appeared, eager as puppies to find their potential.
Zweigelt, which grows on the foothills of the Alps, apparently feels at home on the foothills of the Cascades, too. The resulting wine also seems comfortable nestled between organic offerings at local farmer’s markets.
2014 Wilridge Estate Zweigelt expresses a medium body, a dark amethyst color and lively red fruit. The winemaker says biodynamic techniques make the wine more connected to the Washington State terroir, which may explain why it pairs so tastily with local cheese and meats.
This Zweigelt is scrumptious with roasted pork shoulder. Perfectly balanced and only 13.5 % alcohol, it makes a great dinner party wine. Crowd pleasing, with a good story to match.
2014 Wilridge Estate Zweigelt, $38 available at the winery and farmer’s markets around the state.