Blaufränkisch (German for blue Frankish) is a dark-skinned variety of grape used for red wine. It is a late-ripening variety. For a long time before the application of DNA analysis, Blaufränkisch was erroneously thought to be a clone of the Gamay grape variety, due to certain similarities in morphology and possibly due to its name Gamé in Bulgaria.
According to Wikipedia, ‘the grape is grown across Central Europe, including Austria, Czech Republic (in particular southern Moravia where it is known as Frankovka), Germany, Slovakia (where it is known as Frankovka modrá), Croatia, Serbia (frankovka), Slovenia (known as modra frankinja), and Italy (Franconia). In Hungary the grape is called Kékfrankos (also lit. blue Frankish) and is grown in a number of wine regions including Sopron, Villány, Szekszárd, and Eger (where it is a major ingredient in the famous red wine blend known as Egri Bikavér (lit. Bull’s Blood) having largely replaced the Kadarka grape). It has been called “the Pinot noir of the East” because of its spread and reputation in Eastern Europe. In America the grape is also known as Lemberger, Blauer Limberger or Blue Limberger’.
Blaufränkisch produces red wines which are typically rich in tannin and may exhibit a pronounced spicy character. They typically have aromas of dark ripe cherries and dark berries, are spicy, have medium tannin levels and sometimes very good acidity. Young wines are deeply fruity and become more velvety, supple and complex with age.
The grape does have the potential to have high tannins and acidity levels which can be moderated by harvest decisions and some oak aging. These wines from Blaufränkisch can take on too much oak flavoring and come across as excessively oaky. When blended with other varieties, Blaufränkisch often contributes acidity and structure to the blend.
In food and wine pairings, Blaufränkisch/Lemberger are often paired with lamb dishes and grilled meats.
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