The Blaufränkisch is a thoroughly central European variety. This traditional Austrian variety is probably a cross between Sbulzina and Weißer Heunisch. Blaufränkisch was previously widely-planted throughout the Habsburg Monachy, and is the most important variety in Mittelburgenland, called Blaufränkischland.

Origin

Austria

Parentage

probably crossing between Sbulzina x Weißer Heunisch

Vineyard area

2,597.13 ha; 5.8%

Origin

Documentary evidence of this variety in Austria dates back to the 18th century in Austria. It was only later that there was evidence of the variety in Germany, where it was referred to as “Lemberger” or “Limberger”, after the town of Limberg – the former name of Maissau in Lower Austria. In Hungary, this variety is known as Kékfrankos.

Parentage

An old autochthonous variety that is probably a natural crossing between Sbulzina and Weißer Heunisch.
Blaufränkisch was used as a crossing partner for new Austrian cultivars like Zweigelt, Blauburger, Roesler and Ráthay. International vine cultivation institutes have also used the variety for their crossings.

Vineyard area

Blaufränkisch, an autochthonous variety, is primarily found in the wine-growing regions of northern, central and southern Burgenland, as well as in the eastern wine-growing regions of Niederösterreich.

A picture shows grapes from the grape variety Blaufränkisch.
© Austrian Wine / Oberleithner

Important ampelographic features

Leaf

large, five lobes, coarse teeth

Grape cluster

large, forked, medium density, cone-shaped; berries are round and bluish black in colour

 

Ripening

Ripening

very early
early
early to middle
middle
middle to late
late
very late

Significance & conditions

It is the flagship variety in Südburgenland (Eisenberg), Mittelburgenland (known as “Blaufränkischland”) and Leithaberg. It is also a key variety in Carnuntum. These regions all produce DAC wines with typicity of origin. This variety is very demanding in terms of where it grows. It is especially prone to coulure if the weather is cool during the flowering phase.

Area under vine in Austria
(as a proportion of the variety’s total area)

Click on the wine origin in the list for a breakdown into more specific regions of origin.

Total area in Austria:

A picture shows a person holding a glass of red wine.
© Austrian Wine / Blickwerk Fotografie

Characteristics of the wine

The typical bouquet of Blaufränkisch wines displays profound notes of wild berries or cherries, as well as a powerful acidity characteristic of this grape. Blaufränkisch can yield outstanding wines with dense structure and prominent tannins. The wines are often impetuous in their youth but develop velvety facets when sufficiently mature. Dense wines have very good ageing potential.

 

Links

Autochtonous Varieties

Source varietal specifications: Höhere Bundeslehranstalt und Bundesamt für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal College and Federal Office for Viticulture, Oenology and Fruit Growing) in Klosterneuburg, “Austria’s Qualitätswein grape varieties and their clones“ („Österreichische Qualitätsweinrebsorten und deren Klone“), 2nd, reviewed edition, September 2015

Source area under vine: Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism according to IACS (as at 31 May 2022)

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