Medieval Red Turned Twenty-First Century Classic
Most commonly known by its Austrian name of Blaufränkisch, this grape is widely grown across central Europe where, in the middle ages, the superior varieties hailed from modern-day France, hence being baptized the blue “frankisch”. Also sometimes referred to as the “Pinot Noir of the East”.
It buds early and ripens late, which means it needs a warm climate with a long growing season. Perfect for warmer patches of central Europe.
In can be difficult to generalise the flavours of Pinot Noir given its international spread, but sweet red fruitiness of strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries are common.
Oak maturation and bottle age can add notes of forest floor, mushrooms, and leather.
If Pinot Noir is planted in areas that are too hot for it, the fruits lose their freshness and turn jammy.
Also Known As
- Gamé (Bulgaria)
- Limberger (Germany)
- Lemberger (USA)
- Kekfrankos (Hungary)
- Franconia (Italy – Friuli)
- Frankovka (Slovakia)
Mostly made in fresh, fruit driven styles. Some are experimenting with barrel maturation, which given the high acidity and tannin make very age worthy wines
Firm acidity, deep purple colour, well-structured ripe tannin, and medium to full bodied.
The cured meats of central Europe and spiced sausages are perfect with this fruity and lively red.
One of Austria’s most grown red varieties, its spiritual home is Burgenland whose classy wines became one of the favourites of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Known as Gamé, it was called this as it was long believed that the grape was Gamay. However, further investigation in fact revealed that it was Blaüfrankisch.
Almost solely cultivated in the region of Württemberg, where it accounts for 16% of the vines planted. Sparkling wine, or sekt, is the speciality. Here Blaüfrankisch is known as Limberger.
Known as Kekfrankos, some of the largest quantities of this grape are found in the Sopron region. The wines it produces are known to be balanced and fruity.
In the region of Friuli, the grape is known as Franconia. Recent evidence suggests the grape has been cultivated there since 1500. It is well regarded due to its resistance to adverse weather conditions.
Refreshingly fruity, with plenty of tannins, Frankovka (as it is known in Slovakia) is certainly one to look out for!
Small quantities of the grape (known as Lemberger in the US) are grown most notably in the Finger Lakes region of up-state New York. There are also sporadic pockets dotted around the country in other regions such as Washington state and even Michigan!