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06.26.2014

Blaufränkisch is Best Before Breakfast

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In the pantheon of wine grapes, a precious few are revered for what some refer to as their transparency to terroir. By this, we mean the degree to which the grape, when handled the same from a farming and winemaking perspective, demonstrates significant character differences depending on the specific place it is grown. Pinot Noir has been exalted for this tendency to exhibit terroir so strongly, as has Chardonnay. Every serious student of wine would have several other grape varieties worth serious debate as contenders for this list.

Two years ago, after spending merely two or three days in Austria's Burgenland region, I added Blaufränkisch to my personal list of grapes that have the potential to truly speak of their site.

Blaufränkisch has been around for a while. No one knows exactly how long, but certainly long enough to be one of the parents of the slightly more familiar, but also terroir-sensitive Gamay. According to the book Wine Grapes, for much of viticultural pre-history, the grape was probably one of several grapes known as Fränkisch, but eventually began to be singled out in name in the 19th Century, even as it was often mistaken for Pinot Noir or Gamay.

As a grape, it tends to possess a darker quality fruit than either Pinot or Gamay, frequently straying out of red fruits into darker black fruits, with a particular tendency to taste, at least to my palate, of mulberries. From a growing perspective, it seems that Blaufränkisch can be ripened significantly at somewhat lower alcohol levels than Pinot Noir. This means that even seriously ripe wines typically don't exceed 15% alcohol, and when more optimally ripe, its alcohol levels tend towards the low 13% range.

Blaufränkisch is Austria's second most planted red grape, and has been gaining notoriety over the past decade for the quality of wines it can produce. The grapes primary home in Austria remains the Burgenland region and its various sub-appellations, where the Alps flatten out towards the Pannonian Plain and the warmer climes of Hungary. This boundary zone between the last foothills and the wide flat expanse of the plain offers several soil types, including schist and limestone dominated areas that make for a great variety of expressions for the grape.

Just as with Pinot Noir, Blaufränkisch suffers much abuse in the hands of well-meaning winemakers in Austria. Chief among the crimes perpetuated against the grape is the tendency to age it in too much new oak, which easily overwhelms the nuance and delicacy the grape can possess. Ripeness, too, can be an issue, with many winemakers harvesting late enough to produce wines that feature dried and stewed fruit flavors instead of fresh.

The best examples of Blaufränkisch can offer aromatic fireworks equal to any other noble red grape, ranging from floral and herbal to crystalline bright fruit and forest floor earthiness. Coupled with excellent acidity and well managed tannins, the best wines have a transparency and texture that really does recall some of the best of Burgundy.

Last week at VieVinum, the bi-annual wine exhibition in Vienna, the Austrian Wine Marketing Board offered attending journalists the opportunity to sit down for a day and taste through what they described as "the best" of Austria's red wines. I've already written about the Pinot Noirs that were on offer.

A significantly larger set of Blaufränkisch were available for the tasting, so I spent the majority of my day working through them mostly blind (I simply hid the producer information that was available to me on the spreadsheet provided).

Most of the wines were from the excellent 2011 vintage, and as you can see below, there were some real winners in the group. My previous trip to Austria left me with a crush on good Blaufränkisch, but now I must admit I'm deeply in love. When good, these wines can be truly exceptional, and perhaps unlike the still improving Pinot Noir in Austria, Blaufränkisch should have no problem holding its own on the global stage. The very best of these wines are world class reds -- the equal of any grape, grown anywhere.

Here then are my notes from a morning of tasting Blaufränkisch, for your pleasure. Sadly, as you can see from the dearth of links below, almost none of these wines are available in the United States. But despite their scarcity, I urge you to seek some out, if you can.

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WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2011 Weingut Birgit Braunstein Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of gorgeous mulberry forest floor, and dried flowers. In the mouth, gauzy tannins drape diaphanously around a core of mulberry fruit scented with lilacs. Fantastic acidity and great length. Hints of citrus emerge in the finish. Outstanding and utterly compelling. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Moric "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor, mulberries, and violets. In the mouth, brilliant acidity makes flavors of mulberry, raspberry, and blueberry all but crackle with electricity, gorgeous, even effortless minerality makes this wine float forever through the finish. Outstanding. 13.5% alcohol. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2011 Moric "Lutzmannsburg "Alte Reben" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of forest floor, dried flowers, and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, incredibly bright and juicy mulberry flavors are tinged with cedar as supple but muscular tannins gently tighten their grip around the fruit, deeply mineral and impeccably balanced the wine also has an incredible floral lift that sours through the finish. Outstanding. 14% alcohol. Cost: $129. click to buy.

2011 Weingut Wachter-Wiesler "Reserve Alte Reben" Blaufränkisch, Eisenberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of gorgeously floral mulberry and forest floor. In the mouth, juicy mulberry and wet earth are wrapped in powdery tannins that are surprisingly muscular given their velvety texture. Gorgeous wet cement and wet dirt flavors linger in the finish. A knockout. 13.5% alcohol.

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WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2011 Weingut Artner "Reserve Ried Kirchweingarten" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria

Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberry and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, bright and briary mulberry and blackberry has a wonderful herbal note and a deeper earthy bass to it. Excellent acidity brings in notes of citrus through the long finish. Outstanding. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Paul Achs "Ried Spiegel" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of smoky mulberry and black cherry. In the mouth, rich black cherry and mulberry fruit has a juicy brightness thanks to excellent acidity and a rich earth darkness filled with wood smoke and pine duff. Faint powdery tannins fill every nook and cranny of the mouth. Rich and powerful, without being heavy. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Martin Pasler Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of smoky cherry and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, rich mulberry and wet earth flavors are juicy with bright acidity that leaves a slight citrus quality in the finish. Faint tannins, great balance, Excellent. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Tinhof "Gloriette" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and forest floor. In the mouth the wine has a citrusy brightness that enlivens flavors of mulberry, cherry, and even raspberry. Gorgeous faint tannins give structure to the wine, which lingers in a long citrusy finish. Excellent. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Familie Prieler "Ried Goldberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright mulberry fruit and wet cement. In the mouth pure and bright mulberry and black cherry fruit has a wonderfully earthy underbelly and a fantastic mineral quality. Faint, powdery tannins coat the mouth and juicy acidity keeps things bright and balanced, outstanding. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weinmanufaktur Follner "Freude pur" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and forest floor with a hint of blueberry. In the mouth, blueberry and mulberry flavors mix with a wonderful forest floor and mineral aspect that is quite compelling. Excellent acidity and long blueberry citrus finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Schönberger "Ried Lehmgrube" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color this wine smells of smoky mulberry and black cherry. In the mouth, juicy and bright mulberry and orange peel flavors are zingy with fantastic acidity and linger for a long time through the finish with a hint of earthiness underneath. Faint tannins.13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Anita & Hans Nittnaus "Ried Tannenberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of bright mulberry and cedar. In the mouth, gorgeous mulberry and blueberry flavors mix with a bright earthy, mineral quality that is quite delicious. Perfectly balanced and very pretty. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Winzerkeller Neckenmarkt "Ried Hochberg" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries, cedar, and mixed herbs. In the mouth, taut tannins clasp lean flavors of mulberry, raspberry and forest floor. That leans deep and loamy through a long finish, excellent acidity and balance. 13% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Juliana Wieder "Vitikult" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberry, cedar, and forest floor, in the mouth, juicy flavors of mulberry, raspberry, cedar and earth mix beautifully with a mineral undertone. Excellent acidity and long finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Paul Lehrner "Steineiche" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberry and cedar and forest floor. In the mouth, earth and mulberry fruit mix beautifully with notes of pine duff lingering through the finish. Excellent acidity and length. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Silvia Heinrich "Cupido ange de l'amour" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cedar, mulberries, and dried flowers. In the mouth, juicy mulberry and black cherry flavors mix with a wonderful underlying minerality. Taut but faint tannins provide musculature for the beautiful berry and herbal flavors. Excellent acidity and length. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Iby-Lehrner "Reserve "Rondo" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet campfire and mulberries. In the mouth, smoky mulberry and cherry flavors have a wonderfully deep forest floor and wet loam quality to them that lingers for a long time through the finish. Excellent acidity and length. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weinbau Paul Kerschbaum "Ried Dürrau" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and wet earth. In mouth, juicy mulberry and black cherry fruit seems strained through dark earth and a stony minerality adds backbone. Faint, muscular tannins emerge in the long finish. Wonderfully resonant and earthy. Great acidity. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Wellanschitz "Ried Hussi" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet mulberry fruit. In the mouth, gorgeously pure and bright mulberry fruit sings with electric acidity and a crystalline minerality that recalls the purity of some Burgundy. Perhaps not as complex as it could be, but undeniably delicious, this is a gorgeous wine. Faint tannins and forest floor notes linger in the finish. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Wachter-Wiesler "Reserve Ried Weinberg" Blaufränkisch, Eisenberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of beautifully sweet mulberry and lilac aromas. In the mouth, the fruit is equally pure and bright as mulberry mixes with raspberry, orange zest and wet stone, a touch of new wood surfaces amidst the pretty cocktail of fruit, but it is quickly overlooked in favor of a deep stony quality that pervades the wine. Faint powdery tannins, Excellent. 13% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Krutzler "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and dried flowers. In the mouth, wonderfully earthy mulberry and cherry flavors seem strained through cement and loam. Deep mineral notes linger through the finish with a hint of citrusy brightness thanks two fantastic acidity. Excellent. 13.5% alcohol. Cost: $48. click to buy.

2011 Weingut Wallner "Namenlos" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of wet stones and mulberry fruit wit h a hint of green herbs. In the mouth, juicy mulberry and green herbal flavors have a racy, bouncy quality thanks to excellent, even searing acidity. Citrus zest lingers in the finish along with herbal notes. Faint tannins, too. Exciting. 14% alcohol.

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WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2012 Rotweingut Prickler "Ried Alt Satz" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberries and huckleberries with hints of lilac. In the mouth, bright mulberry fruit mixes with a hint of herbal briar and forest floor. Wonderful bright acidity and faint sandpapery tannins. Good length. 13% alcohol.

2012 Weingut St. Zehetbauer "Ried Mönchsacker" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and black cherry. In the mouth, beautifully pure mulberry and cherry flavors are draped with gauzy faint tannins and are juicy with bright acidity. Good length, and has wet leaves lingering in the finish. Excellent. 13.5% alcohol.

2012 Weingut Günter & Regina Triebaumer Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of smoky mulberry and black cherry fruit. In the mouth, supple tannins wrap around a core of smoky black cherry fruit and forest floor earthiness. Quite deep and resonant, but not heavy. Excellent. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Trapl "Ried Stix" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of roasted nuts and mulberry fruit. In the mouth the vanilla flavors of oak sit on top of rich and bright mulberry and black cherry flavors. Faint dusty tannins coat the mouth as mulberry and brown sugar flavors linger in the finish. 13% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Leitner "Ried Ungerberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of juicy cherry and mulberry fruit with floral high notes. In the mouth, floral flavors of mulberry and bright cherry are kissed with the sweet vanilla of oak. The wood, however, is well integrated, and the whole package quite pretty. Faint tannins, excellent acidity, and good length with a hint of citrus quality in In the finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Paul Achs "Ried Altenberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and mulberry with a hint of smoke, In the mouth, deeply earthy flavors of black cherry and mulberry seem strained through loam, as thick, powdery tannins coat the mouth. Nice airy finish. Good acidity. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Jagini "Zagersdorf" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of smoke, mulberries, and a bit of farmyard funk. In the mouth, manure, mulberry and black cherry fruit mix with powdery tannins and great acidity. I suspect a touch of Brett in this wine, but it currently sits at an acceptable level, adding a nice complexity to the wine. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Ernst Triebaumer "Ried Oberer Wald" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of farmyard funk, forest floor, and mulberry jam. In the mouth a mix of mulberry, manure, and wood smoke are wrapped in faint, powdery tannins, and juicy with bright acidity. A hint of Brett here doesn't kill the wine. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Gernot und Heike Heinrich "Ried Alter Berg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberries and forest floor. In the mouth, bright mulberry and wet earth flavors have a nice underlying stony minerality, touched by a hint of caramelized brown sugar, juicy acidity and nice length. 14% alcohol. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2011 Weingut Ernst Triebaumer "Ried Mariental" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a slightly muted nose of wet earth and dark berries. In the mouth, dark berries, wet loam, and wet wood flavors have a nice dark minerality to them that is compelling. Mysterious. Excellent acidity, and faint powdery tannins. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Tesch "Ried Hochberg " Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet mulberry and forest floor. In the mouth, powerful tannins wrap around a core of black cherry, mulberry, and wet earth on top of a deeply mineral backbone. Dark and resonant, with excellent acidity and a long finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Rotweingut Prickler "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry jam and forest floor. In the mouth, rich and dark earthy tannins coat the mouth and wrap around a core of mulberry and blackberry fruit. Black cherry notes linger through the finish along with wet loam. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Wohlmuth "Ried Rabenkropf" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of forest floor, mulberries, and wet wood. In the mouth dark mulberry flavors have a deep stony minerality that makes for a wonderful resonant backbone to the fruit, excellent acidity and length. 14% alcohol.


WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2011 Weingut Payr "Ried Spitzerberg" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of forest floor and dark mulberry fruit. In the mouth, rich dark cherry and mulberry fruit has a minty herbal quality and the toastiness of new oak. Light but muscular tannins wrap around the fruit core, and an earthiness lingers in the finish, along with the oak. 13% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Muhr - van der Niepoort "Ried Spitzerberg" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and black cherries. In the mouth, black cherry and smoky oak flavors mix with a deep earthy underbelly that is quite charming. Excellent acidity. The finish lingers with the smell of wet campfire. 13.5% alcohol. Cost: $52. click to buy.

2011 Weingut Pittnauer "Ried Ungerberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of wet campfire and mulberry fruit. In the mouth that smoky quality merges with toasted oak and wraps around a core of cherry and mulberry fruit. Powdery, faint tannins edge the mouth and leave a chalky texture as the wine finishes with a cedar and citrus note. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Umathum "Ried Kirschgarten" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and cherry. In the mouth, juicy and bright mulberry and raspberry flavors have a slightly sulfurous funk to them in addition to a mineral purity that is quite compelling. This wine may just require a year or two to hang together. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Josef Leberl "Ried Glorienstein" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of new oak and brown sugar layered over mulberry fruit. In the mouth, drying tannins wrap around a core of mulberry fruit. The oak is much better integrated in the body of the wine than the nose, but it still makes its presence known, especially in the finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Anita & Hans Nittnaus "Alte Reben" Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of rich blueberry and mulberry jam. In the mouth, mulberry and blueberry fruit is wrapped in a thick blanket of tannins, which the good acidity has a hard time cutting through. Earthy notes sit below the rich fruit, but the whole seems somewhat thicker and weightier than I would like. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Anton Hartl "Ried Rosenberg" Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry jam and mulberries. In the mouth cherry and mulberry flavors have a nice earthy minerality to balance out their initial candied tones. Good acidity and length. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Wagentristl Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of melted brown sugar and black cherry syrup. In the mouth, black cherry and leather flavors mix with forest floor notes in a combination with surprising minerality given the sweetness of the nose. Excellent acidity and long finish. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Markus Altenburger "Ried Jungenberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries crushed herbs, and dried cherries. In the mouth, spicy raspberry and cherry flavors have a nice herbal tone to them, and juicy bright acidity, but also some alcoholic heat on the finish. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Mad - Haus Marienberg "Ried Marienthal" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and dark black cherry fruit. In the mouth, dark black cherry and mulberry fruit has a deep earthy and forest floor tone that leans slightly bitter towards the finish. Good acidity, faint tannins. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut K+K Kirnbauer "Reserve Ried Goldberg" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet campfire and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, juicy mulberry and dried black cherry fruit mix with earthier notes and a nice mineral undertone. Faint, powdery tannins coat the mouth. Good acidity and moderate finish. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Gager "Reserve Ried Mitterberg" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of brilliantly pure and sweet mulberry fruit. In the mouth, the wine is equally bright, but with some sweetness of oak added to the fruit. Nicely integrated, the wood pushes this wine into a bright sweetness that is hard not to like. Faint leathery tannins sneak underneath the tongue and linger there truculently as the sweet fruit and cedar linger in the finish. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Kopfensteiner "Reserve Ried Saybritz" Blaufränkisch, Eisenberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of oak, cherries, and mulberry fruit. In the mouth the oak melds nicely with mulberry and cherry flavors, leaving a cedar and citrus note in these finish. Excellent acidity. Good length, faint tannins. 14% alcohol.


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2011 Weingut Josef Pimpel "Prellenkirchen" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and mulberry jam. In the mouth, rich cherry and mulberry flavors have powerful, powdery tannins that coat the mouth and linger with cedar and notes of dried herbs. Somewhat jammy, but with good acidity. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Nehrer "Ried Feurer" Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries and green wood, like the freely peeled bark of a willow branch. In the mouth lean mulberry and green herbal flavors lean towards the bitter end of the spectrum, with a sour greenness lingering in the finish. A bit austere. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Markus Altenburger "Ried Gritschenberg " Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of candied and dried red and black fruits. In the mouth, the fruit is much more juicy than the nose would suggest, with cherry and mulberry notes backed up by slightly raisined qualities. Good acidity and long finish. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Günter & Regina Triebaumer "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of struck match and black cherry. In the mouth, rich, jammy black cherry fruit is wrapped in powdery, mouth-coating tannins. Bright acidity somewhat balances the thick fruit, but ultimately this wine seems too ripe. 15% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Wellanschitz "Well" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried cherries, dried flowers, and cedar. If the mouth, brilliant cedar and cherry flavors have well integrated oak notes, but the tannins are drying and the wine leaves me feeling a bit parched. Great acidity though. Somewhat short finish. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Juliana Wieder "Reserve Ried Bodigraben" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of caramelized brown sugar, forest floor, and red berries. In the mouth, cedar and mulberry flavors are tinged with oak and dusted with chalky, drying tannins. The finish is dusty and earthy. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Kopfensteiner "Reserve Ried Hornig" Blaufränkisch, Eisenberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet wood and ripe berries. In the mouth, rich mulberry and black cherry fruit has a plush velvety texture and tannins, but not enough acidity to keep it from feeling a little leaden. Earth notes add complexity and depth. 14.5% alcohol.


WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2012 Weingut Silvia Heinrich "Ried Goldberg" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium garnet in color, with a hint of cloudiness, this wine has a plasticky smoky aroma. In the mouth, cherry and mulberry fruit has a struck match pungency with dusty tannins wrapped around cherry and mulberry fruit. Good acidity, but a bit funky for my taste. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Trapl "Ried Spitzerberg" Blaufränkisch, Carnuntum, Austria
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright mulberry and new oak. In the mouth very pretty mulberry fruit is unfortunately obscured by new oak which lingers in the finish. Excellent acidity and brightness, but just too much damn wood! 13% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Erich Scheiblhofer "jOIS." Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of ripe, jammy cherry and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, dried black cherries and prunes mix with leather and wet earth. Decent acidity, but the fruit is quite dried. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Sommer " Blaufränkisch, Leithaberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of stewed cherries and sweet oak. In the mouth, flavors of dried cherries and leather mix with wet earth and wet wood through the finish. Good acidity but slightly dried fruit. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Juliana Wieder "Ried Kohlenberg" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of dried cherries and mulberries. In the mouth, dried cherries and dried raspberry fruit is edged with leathery tannins and supported by a deep earthy aspect. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Hans Igler "Ried Biiri" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet oak and dark berry fruit. In the mouth, wonderfully pure mulberry fruit is layered with new oak and surrounded by drying tannins. While the oak doesn't completely obscure the juicy fruit, it is dominant and therefore less than pleasant. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Jalits "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Eisenberg DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of rich mulberry and blackberry jam. In the mouth, the wine offers thick and rich mulberry and black cherry fruit, velvety tannins and softer acidity, making for a plush, but not particularly exciting experience. 14% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2011 Weingut Schloss Halbturn " Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and forest floor. In the mouth, rich oak and mulberry flavors have a thickness that the acidity can't quite break through. Mouth-coating tannins. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Franz Schindler "Ried Lehmgrube" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of new oak and stewed black cherries. In the mouth the dark fruit is all but obliterated with new oak. Peanut-butter-thick tannins coat the mouth and the acidity can't cut through. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weinhof Szemes "Reserve "Imperial" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cherry and mulberry jam. In the mouth, cherry and mulberry flavors are tinged with oak as drying tannins coat the mouth. Good acidity but ultimately dried out. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Rotweingut Iby "Reserve "Chevalier" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of struck match and cherry jam. In the mouth, dried cherry and mulberry flavors are accompanied by equally drying tannins, making for a narrow expression of fruit. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Silvia Heinrich "Reserve Ried Goldberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells like a sweetened piece of pine lumber dripping with sap. In the mouth the wine offers some lean raspberry and mulberry fruit citrusy with bright acidity and tinged with toasted wood. 14% alcohol.

2011 Rotweine Lang "Reserve "L1" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and dark fruit. In the mouth, thick, velvety tannins wrap around deep jammy blackberry and mulberry fruit. Too rich and ripe for my taste. 14% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2011 Weingut Tesch "Selection" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet forest berries and sweet oak. In the mouth drying, muscular tannins envelop a core of cherry and mulberry fruit that would be quite pretty if not obscured by the wood. The finish tastes of little other than sweet oak. A shame. 14% alcohol.

WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2011 Weinhof Bauer-Pöltl "Reserve "Vom Lehm" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of new oak. In the mouth, flavors of new oak obliterate the dark berry fruit underneath, leaving toasted espresso notes and wood as the sole flavors of the finish. Decent acidity. Drying tannins. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Rotweingut Iby "Reserve Ried Gfanger - Quintus" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of honey roasted nuts and blackberry jam. In the mouth, dried mulberry and black cherry flavors are accompanied by drying tannins and flavors of wood. Parching. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Hundsdorfer "Reserve" Blaufränkisch, Mittelburgenland DAC, Burgenland, Austria
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet mulberry fruit. In the mouth, mulberry and cherry fruit is somewhat mauled by sweet oak which takes over and dominates the finish with espresso notes. Drying tannins sweep in to do further damage. Overdone. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Krutzler "Perwolff" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of new oak and dark berries, in the mouth, drying tannins envelop flavors of new oak and crushed berries, but the oak eventually supersedes the fruit. Good acidity, long finish, but when the mouth feels dried out, that is small consolation, 14% alcohol.


WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2011 Heribert Bayer, Kellerei In Signo Leonis "In Signo Sagittarii" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet oak and little else. In the mouth flavors of new oak overshadow bright mulberry and black cherry fruit, as drying tannins suck the moisture from every nook and cranny. Only wood lingers in the finish. 14% alcohol.

2011 Weingut Gesellmann "Ried Hochberg" Blaufränkisch, Burgenland, Austria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and little else. In the mouth, sweet oak and crushed red berries fight a brief skirmish before the oak simply crushes the fruit beneath its weight. Great acidity, but that hardly matters in an oak cocktail. 14.5% alcohol.

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