A Frank Wish: Blaufränkisch 08/23/11

Despite my woeful lack of travel experience, I like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job of thinking – I’m sorry, drinking globally. Indeed, in the nine short months that Convicted for Grape has been in existence, I’ve managed to review wines from 14 different countries.

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Or 13, if you’d prefer not to acknowledge New Zealand as being sovereign from Australia

Of course, a few of these countries have only one review to their names, and this simply cannot stand. Alphabetically, the first such country on my list is Austria, and so today I shall review my second Austrian wine – and my first ever example of the country’s noble grape, Blaufränkisch, which is used to make light-bodied yet complex (and, unfortunately, expensive) red wines.

As luck would have it, I speak average-to-adequate German, which allows me to translate the names of German and Austrian grapes with passable accuracy. Blaufränkisch is actually an easy one: Blau is German for blue, while fränkisch means French. So literally, the grape translates to “Blue-french,” a rather straightforward description of its color (France) and place of origin (blue).

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”Blue-frankenstein-ish” is a common mistranslation, though refers to something else entirely.

The one I bought was the cheapest one available at my local PA state store, the Prieler Blaufränkisch Johanneshöhe 2006 Burgenland, still clocking in at a respectable $24. On the eyes, this was a rather dark maroon, with lighter, slightly orange edges – appropriate enough for a five-year-old wine.

nullThe nose presented aromas of boysenberry, blackberry and bell pepper, while the palate gave way to even more unmistakable blueberry notes, bolstered by fig, black pepper and rocks on the finish (much like the Beaujolais I reviewed over at my colleague’s blog, The Reverse Wine Snob). Indeed, at various points, I found myself comparing this wine to a Beaujolais (Gamay), a Burgundy (Pinot Noir), and a Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Franc). Light- to mid-bodied, well-balanced and boasting considerable complexity, Blaufränkisch made a great first impression.

I award the Prieler Blaufränkisch thumbs up: an excellent wine, but not exactly earth-shattering…is what I’d like to say. But of course, the earth just had to up and shatter today, so now I feel like an idiot.

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An idiot.

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