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The Society's Blaufränkisch 2018

Red Wine from Austria
A delicious example of Austria's most coveted red grape; this is bright, elegant and generous, with lashings of red-fruit flavours, a twist of blackberry and a hint of spice.
is no longer available
Code: AA3061

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Blaufrankisch
  • 13% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2024
  • 75cl
  • Screwcap

Austria

Austria has a long history of making fine wines, but with the country’s wines undergoing a renaissance in recent years, now is arguably the best time to get to know the diverse and delicious bottles on offer.

There is evidence that vines were being cultivated in Austria for the production of wine by the Celts, even before the Romans. Austria was, rather surprisingly, the third-largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines. In more recent times the country has had to deal with the infamous ‘anti-freeze’ scandal of the 1980s when a handful of bulk producers were found to have adulterated their wines with ethylene glycol to sweeten their wines.

The problems of the 1980s hit the country’s industry hard, but also had the effect of initiating the most wide-ranging quality control measures being implemented to ensure that this sort of disaster could never happen again. The industry was further reinvigorated as larger and less...
Austria has a long history of making fine wines, but with the country’s wines undergoing a renaissance in recent years, now is arguably the best time to get to know the diverse and delicious bottles on offer.

There is evidence that vines were being cultivated in Austria for the production of wine by the Celts, even before the Romans. Austria was, rather surprisingly, the third-largest producer of wine globally in the 1920s, mainly producing and exporting simple light white wines. In more recent times the country has had to deal with the infamous ‘anti-freeze’ scandal of the 1980s when a handful of bulk producers were found to have adulterated their wines with ethylene glycol to sweeten their wines.

The problems of the 1980s hit the country’s industry hard, but also had the effect of initiating the most wide-ranging quality control measures being implemented to ensure that this sort of disaster could never happen again. The industry was further reinvigorated as larger and less quality-oriented producers went out of business, leaving old sites available for a new generation of winemakers and the original fine winefamily producers.

Austria's wine regions are confined to the east of the country where the Alps settle into the great Pannonian Plain, running north to south along the many borders from the Czech Republic in the north to Slovenia in the south. The climate here is continental, characterised by cold winters, hot dry summers, and often a large diurnal temperature flux with hot days, and cold nights. This is perfect for ripening a large range of grape varieties and retaining acidity and fresh aromas in white wines.

Broadly there are three major regions: Niederösterreich in the north, Burgenland and Steiermark to the south. Within these regions are a further 16 smaller DACs (Districtus Austriae Controllatus).

Niederösterreich (27,128ha) is known for high-quality white wine production, and most of the vineyards are focused along the banks of the Danube and its tributaries. Nearly half of all vines in this large area are grüner veltliner although world-class rieslings are also produced. Sub regions to look out for here include Kamptal, Kremstal, Wachau, Wagram and Weinviertel.

Burgenland (13,840ha) is the area of vineyards focused around Lake Neusiedl – Central Europe's second-largest lake which straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border. Full-bodied and rich red wines are produced under the influence of the hot continental climate. The complex soil structure throughout the hills surrounding the lake, the various aspects available and large diurnal temperature change allows fine mineral-driven reds to be made. The reds produced use local grape varieties which are suited to the terroir - look out for blaufränkisch, zweigelt and St Laurent. The natural humidity caused by the lake can also lead to high levels of botrytis making this an excellent source of high-quality dessert wines.

Steiermark (Styria) (4,240h) the smallest Austrian area is developing a great reputation for its steely sauvignons and fresh aromatic white wines. Although many of the best wines are made in such small quantities that they are never exported, this is a region to watch.

In terms of grapes, grüner veltliner, native to Austria and Central Europe, is the king of the whites in terms of volume. It is turned into everything from light, thirst-quenching wines to complex barrel-aged stars. It is a great food wine and is finding its way on to many more restaurant wine lists around the world.

Riesling is less widely planted, at only 5% of Austria’s production, but makes some of the country’s finest wines, particularly on the steep slopes of the Wachau Valley along the banks of the Danube. Riesling's common style in Austria is bone-dry, elegant and steely with fresh citrus flavours.

Chardonnay (sometimes locally called morillon) and sauvignon blanc are increasingly planted and are already showing themselves to be hugely promising. The highly aromatic scheurebe, a German import, has a foothold in Steiermark making peach and blackcurrant-leaf-scented wines that marry well with spicy foods.

Reds make up about a third of Austrian plantings. 13 varieties are permitted, including both the dominant indigenous varieties and those more recently introduced such as cabernet and pinot noir. Zweigelt is the most commonly planted, making up 15% of Austria’s red vines, and is a 1920s cross between blaufränkisch and St Laurent. It makes relatively light reds generally, with sour-cherry and redcurrant flavours supported by fine tannins and a spicy linear finish.

Blaufränkisch (pronounced blaou-FREN-kish) is a late-ripening indigenous variety can create wines with dense tannins, high acidity and concentration that can age well for many years. Generally the wines have notes of blackberries, ripe cherries or plums. St Laurent wines are often confused with pinot noir as they can have a similar profile: red-berry perfume, light elegant and crisp. However, St Laurent is often used to add elegance to a blend.
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Weingut Hans Igler

This estate in Austria’s Burgenland is best known for its red wines. Hans Igler was a red wine legend in his homeland; in the1970s he was among the first in Austria to make his wines completely dry and in the 1980s he was also one of the avant-garde set who defied the norm by maturing his wines in small French oak barrels.

After her father’s death, Waltraud Reisner-Igler dedicated herself to continuing her father’s vision for the wines and together with her husband Wolfgang Reisner took over the family winery, running it with an absolute commitment to quality. Their son Clemens is now also involved in the family business as well as making his own wines.

The Society is a regular follower of the Igler wines made from zweigelt - a relatively modern hybrid grape, which thrives in this part of Austria, producing wines that are deep and vibrant in colour with plump cherry flavours – and from the indigenous blaufränkisch grape which yields ample, smooth fruity reds not dissimilar in style to cru Beaujolais.

Austria Vintage 2018

2018 was an exceptionally hot vintage with many producers picking around three weeks earlier than usual. However, the best wines have maintained freshness. At first glance, 2018 seems to be a good and upfront vintage which may well suit early drinking rather than ageing.

2018 vintage reviews

The Spectator

Blaufränkisch is toAustria what zinfandel is to California, pinotage to South Africa and malbec toArgentina. I can’t remember ever having seen this very tasty red grape producedoutside Austria...
Blaufränkisch is toAustria what zinfandel is to California, pinotage to South Africa and malbec toArgentina. I can’t remember ever having seen this very tasty red grape producedoutside Austria where, clearly, the terroir suits it just so. This, fromWeingut Hans Igler in Burgenland, in the east of the country at the foot of theOdenburg or Sopron Mountains, is perfect summer fare: fresh, vibrant andbursting with ripe hedgerow fruit and a whisper of spice. It’s the perfect wineto knock back in some quantity at a post-lockdown barbecue with old mates.
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- Jonathan Ray

decanter.com

Made by Weingut HansIgler, this new wine joins The Society's own-label grüner veltliner inprofiling Austria's native grapes. The name is arguably the only thing holdingblaufränkisch back ...
Made by Weingut HansIgler, this new wine joins The Society's own-label grüner veltliner inprofiling Austria's native grapes. The name is arguably the only thing holdingblaufränkisch back from being better appreciated, as its flavour profile hasmass appeal: think cru Beaujolais or cabernet franc. Cracked pepper and pencillead notes join ripe redcurrant and darker bramble tones, with mouth-wateringacidity giving backbone to the weighty fruit.
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89/100 Tina Gellie

JancisRobinson.com

Mid cherry red with asoft rim. Bright, zesty and lightly peppery red fruit, some green pepper too,just a hint of something more stony that highlights the pepper notes. Juicy andvery fresh. Lively, pure...
Mid cherry red with asoft rim. Bright, zesty and lightly peppery red fruit, some green pepper too,just a hint of something more stony that highlights the pepper notes. Juicy andvery fresh. Lively, pure and would be a good foil to simple but quite richdishes. The acidity makes it seem light-bodied despite the alcohol, thenthere's a warmer depth on the finish. Definitely at the lighter end of theblaufränkisch spectrum though none the worse for that.
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15.5/20 Julia Harding MW

The Scotsman

This late ripener[blaufränkisch] from Austria can really reflect its site, but it is often hardto find good value examples approachable in their youth. A brilliant new exampleis The Society's...
This late ripener[blaufränkisch] from Austria can really reflect its site, but it is often hardto find good value examples approachable in their youth. A brilliant new exampleis The Society's Blaufränkisch: juicy and charmingly approachable with generousred fruits, slighty spicy and incredible acidity.
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- Rose Murray Brown

Belfast Newsletter

Wine of the Week: ...elegant, mellow and delightfully complex … Smoky, supple and delicately spiced,this medium-bodied, sophisticated Austrian red teems with densely focussedflavours of dark...
Wine of the Week: ...elegant, mellow and delightfully complex … Smoky, supple and delicately spiced,this medium-bodied, sophisticated Austrian red teems with densely focussedflavours of dark berries, black cherries and blackcurrants which jostle forattention alongside subtle earthy pungent spices before a deeply satisfyingfinish with beguiling hints of black pepper. Food-wise this is a versatile winewhich will go equally well with red meat, game or poultry. I enjoyed mine witha rather wonderful chicken and red pepper paella.
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- Raymond Gleug

Manchester Evening News

Blaufränkisch is thestar grape of the Burgenland region is eastern Austria where the familyproducer Weingut Hans Igler is carrying on a tradition of realising the fullpotential of the variety.It has...
Blaufränkisch is thestar grape of the Burgenland region is eastern Austria where the familyproducer Weingut Hans Igler is carrying on a tradition of realising the fullpotential of the variety.It has a charming flavour profile that reminds me a little of gamay in terms ofthe very smooth tannins. Its spicy cherry fruit has a sort of sweet/sourcharacter that makes it the perfect match for eastern European food includingpickled or fermented cabbage. So duck served with red cabbage sauerkraut isperfect.
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- Andy Cronshaw

Belfast Newsletter

… remarkably lean, green and citrussy … full of fresh, fragrant, grassy and herbaceous aromatics which lead to tangy pear and white pepper flavours on its vibrant and very lively...
… remarkably lean, green and citrussy … full of fresh, fragrant, grassy and herbaceous aromatics which lead to tangy pear and white pepper flavours on its vibrant and very lively palate It went very nicely with delicious pork schnitzels in a creamy dill sauce.
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- Raymond Gleug

Daily Record

This new red at TheWine Society (which, like the Aldi white featured earlier, is from Austria)uses a grape that appears, under several different names, across easternEurope. Everywhere, though, it can...
This new red at TheWine Society (which, like the Aldi white featured earlier, is from Austria)uses a grape that appears, under several different names, across easternEurope. Everywhere, though, it can produce wine that is rich without beingheavy. This one performs the same trick, offering us excellent medium bodiedwine with currant aromas, cheery, plum, pepper and baking spice flavours andgood acidity but little tannin.
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- Brian Elliott

Manchester Evening News

The Wine Society hasrecently been declared Austria Specialist of the Year at the Decanter RetailerAwards and for good reason … The wine has a bold upright personality and abackbone of acidity which ...
The Wine Society hasrecently been declared Austria Specialist of the Year at the Decanter RetailerAwards and for good reason … The wine has a bold upright personality and abackbone of acidity which adds freshness to all that fruit and spice.
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- Jane Clare

midweekwines.co.uk

This new Austrian redat The Wine Society uses a grape that appears, under several different names,across Eastern Europe but, everywhere it goes, it seems to produce wine that isrich without being...
This new Austrian redat The Wine Society uses a grape that appears, under several different names,across Eastern Europe but, everywhere it goes, it seems to produce wine that isrich without being heavy.With good acidity but little tannin, this performs exactly that trick byoffering us red wine with currant aromas, black cherry, plum, pepper and bakingspice flavours but wraps them all in a medium bodied framework.
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- Brian Elliott

joannasimon.com

Exuberant blueberryand red fruit and savoury, stony, black pepper brought together with clarity,gentle tannic grip and fresh acidity. Very good with pork and it could alsohandle the multifarious...
Exuberant blueberryand red fruit and savoury, stony, black pepper brought together with clarity,gentle tannic grip and fresh acidity. Very good with pork and it could alsohandle the multifarious stuffings, sauces and side dishes that trail theturkey.
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- Joanna Simon

Belfast Newsletter

Best red wine (under £10) of 2020: lithe, mellow and delightfully complex ... Smoky, supple and delicately spiced, this medium-bodied, sophisticated Austrian red teems with densely focused...
Best red wine (under £10) of 2020: lithe, mellow and delightfully complex ... Smoky, supple and delicately spiced, this medium-bodied, sophisticated Austrian red teems with densely focused flavours of dark berries, black cherries and blackcurrants which jostle for attention alongside subtle earthy pungent spices before a deeply satisfying finish with hints of black pepper. A versatile drop which will go equally well with red meat, game or poultry.
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- Raymond Gleug

Press & Journal

Think strawberries, blackberries and spice with juicy fruit, rede berries and black cherries.

- Carol Brown

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