Blaufränkisch BArEs its Soul
by Christoph Raffelt
My first true Blaufränkisch moment came in 2013, at a now-shuttered restaurant in Hamburg. Thirty-six bottles from a swath of Austria’s appellations stood open for tasting, from classics like Prieler’s Goldberg 1995 to Marienthal from Ernst Triebaumer to Ried Point from Kolwentz. Those wines impressed me, as they had in the past, even as they failed to inspire me.
This time, however, other wines had joined the lineup. The Spitzerberg from Muhr-van der Niepoort (today Weingut Dorli Muhr), for example; the 2010 Reserve Pfarrgarten from Wachter-Wiesler; and the 2002 Lutzmannsburg Alte Reben from Moric. Suddenly, I was electrified. The wine in the glass was entirely unlike anything I had encountered in a Blaufränkisch before. It was far from the usual attempt to dress the variety like a modern right bank Bordeaux. This was pure, energetic, honest. It hooked me, and, if we’re being honest, hasn’t let go since. Over the last decade, Blaufränkisch has continued to improve, with several excellent vintners joining the ranks. Blaufränkisch captures the zeitgeist as demand increases for linear, austere, and fresh wines. Nonetheless, the variety has yet to step into its moment in the sun...
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