Roast Chicken Pairings from A to Zweigelt

We eat a lot of roast chicken and enjoy trying different wines with it since the match can be so flexible depending on the preparation, the sauce -- and the mood. Red Burgundy, of course, is the classic. We once had a boss who could rhapsodize forever about the roast chicken, mashed potatoes and Burgundies he had regularly at the now-closed Montrachet in Tribeca. (It's nice to be the boss.)

We never need an excuse to drink Burgundy, but the other day, with the girls coming over, we decided to open some rosé to have with my roast chicken, carrots, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. One was a real winner:  2013 Fritsch Rosé Vom Zweigelt from the small, family-owned Fritsch winery in the Wagram wine-growing region of Austria. Wagram is about 30 miles northwest of Vienna and north of the Danube River.

Among rows and rows of rosé, this one had called out to me because it was made from Zweigelt, the most-planted red grape variety of Austria, which produces a red wine that John and I have found charming and full of personality.  I’d only had a couple of rosés made from Zweigelt and liked them very much for their bright acidity and vibrant, fruity flavors.  

Developed in 1922 by viticulturist Fritz Zweigelt, the grape is a cross of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent. It has the acidity and black-pepper bite of the Blaufränkisch and the Pinot Noir fruitiness and elegance of the St. Laurent. Zweigelt, who gave his cross the name Rotburger—50 years later it was named after him—was trying to make a more disease-resistant, higher-producing  grape vine. That it’s so widely planted speaks to his success. Personally, I’m thrilled that someone had the moxie to change its name!

Karl Fritsch Jr., who took over his parents’ winery in1999, makes wine with his wife, Simone. They make a regular Zweigelt, among other reds, and of course Grüner Veltliner.  My notes describe the rosé as having “great, juicy fruit with awesome acidity. Bright. The color of pink grapefruit.”   

 Karl Sr., and his wife, Anna, founded the winery in the 1970s and were pioneers in the planting in the region of international varieties like Pinot Noir. They brought their son into the business in 1990, after he earned a degree in winemaking and apprenticed at other wineries.  They still help out at the 12,000-case organic winery, helping to sell the wines on site.

 From their estate to mine, Salud. 

Dorothy J. Gaiter conceived and wrote The Wall Street Journal's wine column, "Tastings," from 1998 to 2010 with her husband, John Brecher. She has been tasting and studying wine since 1973. She has had a distinguished career in journalism as a reporter, editor, columnist, and editorial writer at The Miami Herald and The New York Times, as well as at The Journal.