Blaufrankisch grape also referred to as Lemberger or Kékfrankos is a grape variety used in the process of red wine making.
This grape being a black skinned grape is widely cultivated on the hilly slopes of Hungary and Austria.
This grape variety was first identified in the eighteenth century in Austria.
At that time, when the Austrian region was under the control of Germany, this grape was called as Limberger or Lemberger and this name came from the city of Limberg, which is known today by the name Maissau in Niederösterreich.
Regions where Blaufrankisch grape is grown
This grape which is widely grown in Hungary and it is known by the name of Kékfrankos. In Hungary, it occupies an almost 20,000 acres of land (8100 hectares) of land.
In fact, it occupies a total region, which is thrice that of Austria, which happens to be its country of origin.
The majority of Blaufrankisch grape is cultivated in the region of Kunsag, where it is only cultivated for the purpose of exporting.
However, the exception to this rule is the Donausonne Blaufrankisch grape, which is marketed in the United States of America using the variety’s more accustomed Austrian name.
The other Hungarian home for this grape is the Sopron region which falls in the northwest to the eastern side of Neusiedlersee and the Eger region in the northeast.
Both the regions have a strong history when it comes to the wine production, and definitely have a sparkling potential to make Hungary the powerhouse when it comes to wine production in the new age era, with Kekfrankos being the flagship grape.
And this grape has already got accolades, thanks to the famous red wine which goes by the name EgriBikaver, also known by the name of Bull’s Blood.
Along with this, the grape is also grown in countries like Slovakia, Germany, Croatia and Bulgaria.
When it comes to the new age countries, this grape is grown in United states, in New York (Finger Lakes), some parts of Washington (Yakima Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills), California, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Rhode Island.
Parentage of Blaufrankisch grape
Blaufrankisch grape was assumed to be genetically similar to the Pinot Noir grape or the Gamay Noir.
In fact its names also appeared similar in Croatia and Bulgaria where it is known as Borgogna and Gamé respectively.
However, modern DNA results concluded that this theory was wrong and that this grape is not at all related to the two grapes.
In fact, these two grapes happen to be the direct descendants of Gouais Blanc, whereas Blaufrankisch happens to be a cross between Heunisch and an unfamiliar grape which is probably the mutation of Blauer Groben.
And this grape variant in fact is used as a crossing partner for grape breeds like Blauburger, Roesler, Zweigelt and Rathay in Austria.
Viticulture of Blaufrankisch Grape
Blaufrankisch Grapes have large leaves which are five lobed having coarse teeth. This grape grows in clusters which are large, V-shaped and conical having a moderately compact size and round grapes which are blackish blue in colour.
In the vineyard, this grape tends to bud early and ripen late and tends to give very good yields.
When it comes to the weather, it needs a warm environment and grown really well when it is exposed to a dry climate.
This wine does tend to overgrow and hence need to be pruned from time to time. Also, this wine is prone to powdery and downy mildews and some sort of rot and hence enough care must be taken when the grape is about to bloom.
Characteristics of Blaufrankisch Wine
Blaufrankisch wines tend to be intensely colored wines having a medium-body with reds. On the palate, this grape gives the flavours of black fruits like black cherries, deep wood berry and blackberries along with a tinge of peppery spice.
It also gives the earth notes of tobacco and leather and has a high acidity characteristic. When it comes to the structure, this grape has a dense and a very complex structure with prominent tannin content.
This wine usually appears impetuous when young, but tends to give a velvety and a smooth facet when it is ripe. This wine appears fuller and tastes better when aged.
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