Owing to the screen size of your device, you may obtain a better viewing experience by rotating your device a quarter-turn (to get the so-called “panorama” screen view).
owlcroft logo
An Owlcroft Company
web site.


 Click to 
 email us. 


If you like this site,
please post a link to it!

This is…

That Useful Wine Site

Search, or just roll your cursor over the colored boxes farther below.
Advertisements appear before actual Search results;
click the “x” to dismiss Search-results block.

  Advertisement:


  Site navigation:

  Advertisement:


  Site navigation:

The Blaufränkisch Grape


Quick page jumps:


About Blaufränkisch

(Synonyms: Blauer Limberger, Borgonja, Burgund Mare, Franconia, Franconia Nero, Frankovka, Frankovka Modrá, Frankovka Crna, Gamé, Kékfrankos, Lemberger, Limberger, Modra Frankinja, Nagyburgundi, Sura Liscina.)

Background

Map showing the Franconia region of Germany

Blaufränkisch is a red-wine grape probably originating in the Franconia region of what is today Germany; indeed, Blaufränkisch simply means “blue wine of Franconia”. Its more common name in American viticulture, Lemberger, arose in Germany because during the 19th century the wine was imported to there from Lemberg, a location in Lower Styria (now a part of Slovenia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).

The grape’s history probably extends back into the middle ages, though the first definite mention of it was not till 1862. As the “synonyms” list above shows, it—like many older grapes—has had a myriad of names, but the only other one an American is likely to see on a bottle beside Lemberger or Blaufränkisch is Kékfrankos (the Hungarian version of the name).

The wine is not a big part of the American wine market, probably for several reasons. One is the multitude of names, all complex for the average American to read or pronounce; and the simplest and most widely used by American wineries making it, Lemberger, is likely too suggestive of the stong-smelling Limburger cheese (to which it has absolutely zero relation). Another reason is that while the grape can make quite good wine, it remains relatively obscure on the world market; indeed, quality wines of this grape in modern times probably go no farther back than a couple of decades.

A typical Blaufränkisch is something that doesn’t exist, there being two main and diverse styles: one is a strong, full-bodied wine reminescent of some of California’s bigger Zinfandels; the other is lighter and softer, reminiscent of a better Pinot Noir. What is common to both styles, however, is a bluish-red color and a somewhat “spicy” nose and taste. The underlying taste elements are typical of good reds, notably dark-berry flavors such as black cherry, blackberry, or red currant— plus that grace note of spiciness. All versions will age, but some are vinified for it and will turn into smooth, almost silky wines, while others, more assertive and fruit-forward, want little bottle aging.

Besides eastern and central Europe, Blaufränkisch/Lemberger is vinified in Australia and the U.S., the latter mostly in Washington State. In Europe, Austria is today the leading producer.

In its native regions, styles vary. Some differences are attributed to region: Blaufränkisch from Austria’s Neusiedlersee-Hügelland region is often said to be “richer and more full bodied”, while elsewhere the overtones of spiciness are more pronounced. Austrian Blaufränkisch of the ordinary sort, such as Mittleburgenland DAC Classic, tend to be lighter renditions, and are typically unoaked; wines labelled Burgenland DAC Reserve show greater body and are typically oak-aged.

While the wine is made throughout the wine-making world, it is chiefly in Washington State that New World Lemberger is grown (though Australia is apparently starting to ramp up its production of Blaufränkisch wines). In Washington, styles also vary, again ranging from light, Pinot-like renditions to heavier Zinfandel-like versions, on even to fortified wines in the style of port. Nowadays, some makers are trying to avoid the false Lemberger/Limburger association by calling their wines from this grape by various proprietary names (such as “Blue Franc”). To the extent that Washington Lembergers share qualities, they are those of being fairly dark in both appearance and flavor (notably dark berries, such as black cherry), with spicy and pepper overtones—in other words, the leading characteristics of the grape. The relative lack of domestic interest in Blaufränkisch/Lemberger makes the wines something of a steal for selective—we emphasize that word—bargain hunters (because better Austrian bottlings can get pricey fast).

Factoid: Blaufränkisch has been called “the Pinot Noir of the East” owing to its popularity and reputation throughout Eastern Europe.

Return to the page top. ↑


Some Descriptions of Blaufränkisch Wines

Return to the page top. ↑


Some Blaufränkischs to Try

(About this list.)

Jalits Eisenberg
(The “Eisenberg” DAC identifes it as a Blaufränkisch.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Anita und Hans Nittnaus "Kalk und Schiefer" Blaufränkisch
(Austria, Burgenland; "Kalk und Schiefer" means "limestone & shale".)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Prieler Johanneshohe Blaufränkisch

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Gernot and Heike Heinrich Blaufränkisch

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Paul Achs "Heidenboden" Blaufränkisch
(Austria, Neusiedlersee; "Heideboden" means "Heatherland".)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

Return to the page top. ↑

For a Splurge

Our choice here is the Prieler Blaufränkisch; this is one of four bottlings of Blaufränkisch by them, so be sure which you’re looking at of for. This one has no subtitle (that is, it’s not the Goldberg or the Johanneshohe—listed above—or the Marienthal).

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

Return to the page top. ↑



  Advertisement:


  

  Advertisement:


  



Disclaimers  |  Privacy Policy

owl logo This site is one of The Owlcroft Company family of web sites. Please click on the link (or the owl) to see a menu of our other diverse user-friendly, helpful sites. Pair Networks logo Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend. We invite you to click on the Pair link or logo for more information on hosting by a first-class service.
(Note: All Owlcroft systems run on Ubuntu Linux and we heartily recommend it to everyone—click on the link for more information).

All content copyright © 2020 The Owlcroft Company
(excepting quoted material, which is believed to be Fair Use).

This web page is strictly compliant with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) Protocol v1.0 (Transitional) and the W3C Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Protocol v3 — because we care about interoperability. Click on the logos below to test us!



This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.