In our most recent Select Six email, the write-up on the Laffitte-Teston Madiran makes mention of how the Tannat grape is increasing in popularity among Virginian vineyards and winemakers. Another grape you may see appearing more frequently at local wineries is Blaufrankisch, one of the most popular and important grape varieties in Austria and Eastern Europe. While it can have some issues with early frosts, it tends to be very hearty and thrive in warmer summers, producing dark wines with lots of fruit ranging from juicy and spicy to a bit of savory funk. Wineries looking to make an everyday easy drinking wine may emulate the Hungarian Ergi Bikaver, or 'Bull's Blood', but those looking to make a more intensive red may look to wines like this from Austria's Burgenland region. As one of Austria's warmer climates, the Blaufrankisch here gets about as ripe as possible, and is so well respected there is a 'Cru' designation available for sites and areas to award producers looking to make high level wines.
Inky dark in the glass, the nose is full of black fruits and spice that push right up to the edge of being called 'warm', but still have that cool blue fruit/cola/savory spice note that keep it from showing too jammy. The palate is deep and mouthfilling, juicy almost in the way of a Zinfandel or a Cotes du Rhone but with darker fruit and more natural acidity. There is also a bit of chew from the natural tannins which gives a lot of length and dry currant tones to the finish. There is a lot more muscle and sinew to the fruit than most would expect from a wine this far from the warmth of the Mediterranean, so fans of those types of wines should take notice, maybe mix one in for a meal one weekend.
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