Blaufränkisch is a dark skinned, late ripening grape produced all around eastern Europe and carries many different names. It is sometimes called the Pinot Noir of the east, though it is far more tannic and spicy than most Pinot Noir, and really shows little similarity at all. It is produced in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia, and the wines are sturdy and rich. The grapes can sustain a hardy climate, and domestically we see it planted (generally called Lemberger in the states) in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and of course California and Washington.
My first exposure to domestic Lemberger was Jed Steele's Shooting Star project. Jed labelled the wine Blue Franc because it was easier for Americans to say, but it proved a disservice, because retailers would shelve the bottle with Cabernet Franc bottles, and unknowing consumers would find it nothing like what the were seeking. You might be able to find a Shooting Star Blue Franc around in a liquor store, but you had better hurry, as it has been discontinued.
Blaufränkisch is not very similar to Cabernet Franc. Medium bodied and fruity is about the extent of their similarities. The fruit shows much more rustic on most old world or new world examples. The tannic structure is more grippy as well. I am really excited to show a Blaufränkisch from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Produced by Dr Konstantin Frank, the wines is awesome and perfectly timed to have with your Thanksgiving foods.
Classes are bookending Thanksgiving, November 24th or November 26th so sign up now!