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Discover The Potential Of Austrian Blaufränkisch Wine

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 25, 2021

Leopold Schneemann has seen many happy people enjoying Austrian Grüner Veltliner. As a sommelier with experience at fine restaurants in North America in New York City and Buffalo, as well as in establishments in his homeland of Austria, this iconic white wine has hit the mark for diners and drinkers around the world.

Schneemann says he never had much problem selling Grüner Veltliner. Austria’s signature white grape has been well-received in restaurants, with diners expecting quality from bottles across every price point. The trickle-down effect of this influence brought Grüner Veltliner to everyday life, where creative packaging such as bag-in-a-box and fanciful labels have made the variety entirely approachable.

But what of red wines from Austria? While a lively grape called Zweigelt is the most-planted red variety in the country, Schneemann says that there’s a contender: “I believe strongly in the potential of Blaufränkisch.”

This late-ripening variety fills around 6.5% of Austrian vineyards. Schneemann estimates that Austrian wine as a whole only occupies 1% of the world’s output. While this European country isn’t known for big volumes, it is recognized cultivating wine grapes with a respect for nature, meanwhile offering great value and food-friendliness for the price point.

16% of Austria’s vineyards are certified organic, with about one-fifth of that area tended to biodynamically. Another 12% holds one of the other sustainable certificates available to Austrian winemakers, including Sustainable Austria a multiyear research and evaluation project.

This is also a winegrowing region with a strong dedication to origin labeling — similar to what consumers have come to recognize from elsewhere in Europe (the French AOP or Italian DOC, for example) where there are strict standards when naming a wine from a specific place. This appears as DAC, which stands for Districtus Austriae Controllatus.

This track record for quality means this is a country worth exploring, putting Blaufränkisch on deck. This late-ripening variety offers bright to dark berry and cherry notes, peppery spice, and a satisfying balance of acidity and tannins. It also fits comfortably into the popular chillable reds category that has charmed consumers and diners recently. Blaufränkisch can be medium- to full-bodied and Schneemann says “a second glass is an easy choice.” He says that a budget of $15 – $25, in a good wine shop, will “do the job” for a great-tasting, high quality bottle, with options to upgrade from there.

Leopold Schneemann’s Blaufränkisch Pairing Suggestions

Burgers on the Grill and Blaufränkisch Rosi Schuster 2019

This wine delivers deep, dark plum and black cherry tones, with a whiff of game and a rich, multi-layered texture. The perfect match with a juicy burger!

Fresh Salad and Blaufränkisch Winery Glatzer 2018

Here’s a stainless steel fermented wine, on the lighter side. This is a pleasant sip for salads with not-too-acidic dressings. The ideal chillable red.

Cheese Plate with Blaufränkisch Ried Johanishöhe Winery Prieler 2017

Elegance, drinkability, and fruit are the focus while tannin, power, and spice remain satisfied in supporting roles. Balanced for mild cheeses.

Charcuterie and Blaufränkisch-Zweigelt Heideboden Winery Claus Preisinger 2017

Dark fruit and spice aromatics lead to mineral raciness and black pepper depth. Spiciness and freshness set the base for meats and cheeses. This one shows off the blending capability of Blaufränkisch and Zweigelt.

Happy Hour Sipping and Blaufränkisch Winery Markowitsch 2019

Markowitsch, with vineyards in Carnuntum, is in a class of his own. This wine is fun in a glass for late summer and early fall.

Steak, BBQ, or Roasted Veggies with Blaufränkisch Reserve Weingut Wallner 2013

This one’s another pure, howl-at-the-moon Blaufränkisch — precise, with an amazingly silky texture. It’s serrano-smoky, juicy, complex, and nettley.


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