Zweigelt is a crossing of Blaufränkisch with Sankt Laurent*. It was created in 1922 by Dr Friedrich Zweigelt. He named it Rotburger because of its birthplace in Klosterneuburg, but due to occasional confusion with the Riesling/Trollinger cross Rotberger (u vs. e), Austrian wine pioneer Lenz Moser brought the current name into official use long about 1975. In creating this cultivar, Dr. Zweigelt was looking for prolific grape-bearing, good deep color, and resistance to disease. And Zweigelt is indeed resistant to frost, drought, and to various ailments of the vine, but by crossing Blaufrankisch with Saint Laurent, he came up with a grape that tastes like neither. Spicy with luscious fruit, it rarely shows the lactic texture of Saint Laurent, nor the occasionally stiff notes one might find in a Blaufrankisch.
Zweigelt is wonderfully versatile in its applications. It flourishes as a monovarietal, but also blends beautifully with Blaufrankisch as well as with the French varieties Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
*Cork dork note: a crossing is not a hybrid. Crossings result from the uniting of two vitis vinifera subspecies. Pinotage is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, for example. Popular hybrids include Seyval Blanc and Chambourcin, matings between vinifera and American vines.