Heinrich Leithaberg Blaufrankisch 2017
Blaufränkisch features a moderate level of weight, bright acidity, and is firmly structured making it an excellent wine for the table. Blaufränkisch produced in a balanced style without excessive ripeness or oak can be paired with food like Pinot Noir and is excellent with game birds, duck, and veal. It is the classic wine to pair with a Hungarian goulash of braised meat and vegetables served with egg noodles or potatoes.
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Gernot and Heike Heinrich founded their winery in 1990 with just one hectare and have steadily grown to 90 hectares today. Heinrich was one of the first in the region to transition from simple white wines to high-quality reds in the early 1990s, and became famous for powerful red blends such as Salzberg, Gabarinza, and Pannobile. In recent years, the focus has turned to Blaufränkisch from the nearby Leithaberg DAC, and to “Freyheit,” a line of wines produced with minimal intervention in the cellar. Heinrich converted to biodynamics in 2006 and is a member of Respekt, a certifying body for biodynamic viticulture in Austria. Heinrich today is today one of Austria’s most innovative wine producers.
The source of Austria’s finest botrytized sweet wines, Burgenland covers a lofty portion of Austria's wine producing real estate. It encompasses the smaller regions of Neusiedlersee, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Mittelburgenland and Südburgenland. The latter two are most associated with their exceptional red wines. The region as a whole produces no shortage of important whites.
Neusiedlersee, named for the lake that it surrounds to the east, is home to a great diversity of grape varieties. The region’s most notable wines, however, are the botrytis-infected, sweet versions.
Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, which wraps the lake on its western side, includes the town of Rust, a historically esteemed wine community. Its close proximity to the lake’s fog and mist make it another source of some of the more prestigious botrytized wines. Neusiedlersee-Hügelland also produces fine Blaufränkisch, Pinot Blanc, Neuburger and Grüner Veltliner, though a label will usually name the more general, Burgenland, so as not to confuse it with its eastern cousin, Neusiedlersee, across the lake.
Blaufränkisch is well suited to and makes up over half of the vineyard area in Mittelburgenland. The region’s hills and plateaus, which are composed of variations in schist, loess and clay-limestone, produce high quality reds with interesting diversity.
Südburgenland, also known for its deep, complex and age-worthy Blaufränkisch, is beginning to turn out some alluring whites from Grüner Veltliner, Welschriesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).
Inky magenta with aromas of violets, herbs and spices, Blaufrankisch first appeared in Austria in the 18th century and today is the second most planted red variety in Austria after its own offspring, Zweigelt. Blaufrankisch thrives in the warmer Austrian zones and while most of the global acreage remains here, the variety has travelled a bit outside of its homeland. Somm Secret—In pre-Medieval times grapes were divided into superior quality, those whose origins lay with the Franks, called “Frankisch,” and all others, which were deemed inferior. This well-revered grape took the name, blau (meaning blue or dark) plus, “Frankisch,” or Blaufrankisch.