Origin: Austria. This variety was first documented in the 18th century in Austria. At that time, in what was then Germany, it had the name of Lemberger or Limberger, which was derived from the town of Limberg – today Maissau – in Niederösterreich. In Hungary known as Kékfrankos.
Parentage: Natural crossing of the Heunisch variety and an unknown grape (probably a mutation of the Blauer Groben). Blaufränkisch was used as a crossing partner for Austrian new breeds like Zweigelt, Blauburger, Roesler and Rathay. Even breeding stations abroad used the variety for crossings.
Vineyard area: 3,225 ha, 7.0 %. An autochthone variety, Blaufränkisch is found especially in the wine-growing regions of northern, middle and southern Burgenland as well as in eastern Niederösterreich.
Important ampelographic features
Leaf: large; five lobes; coarse teeth
Grape cluster: large, conical and V-shaped; moderately compact; round blueish-black grapes
Ripening time: Late
Importance, conditions: It is the leading variety in Südburgenland (Eisenberg), Mittelburgenland (Blaufränkischland) and at Leithaberg. These regions deliver origin-typical DAC-wines. In Niederösterreich, the area of Carnuntum is also known for its excellent Blaufränkisch wines. The variety is highly demanding of its vineyard site. Coulure easily occurs if the weather is cool during the flowering period.
Wine: The typical palate of this late ripening variety is characterized by deep wood berry or cherry tones, and reveals its characteristic acidity. Blaufränkisch can yield wines with dense structure and prominent tannins. The wines are often impetuous in their youth, but develop velvety facets when sufficiently ripe. Fuller, stronger versions have good ageing potential.