Blaufränkisch: The Red Jewel of Central Europe

Venture into the intriguing world of Blaufränkisch, a red grape variety celebrated for its ability to convey both power and elegance in a single sip. Known for its richly fruity and spicy flavors and characteristic depth, Blaufränkisch offers an enchanting journey into Central Europe’s wine-making traditions.

A Brief History

Blaufränkisch is believed to have originated in Austria, where it has been grown since the Middle Ages. The name translates to “blue Frankish,” where “blue” refers to the deep color of the grapes, and “Frankish” points to its historical connection to Franconia, a German region. The grape has been recognized for its quality for centuries and remains one of the most important red varieties in Austria, Hungary, and several other Central European countries.


Blaufränkisch is a late-ripening variety, typically harvested after other red grape types. It is known for its vibrant acidity and substantial tannin structure, which lends itself well to both early drinking and ageing. The grape tends to produce wines with deep ruby to purple color, and its vineyards often thrive in volcanic soils, which add a unique minerality to the wines.

Flavour Profile

Blaufränkisch wines are typically full-bodied and aromatic, with a distinguished spiciness. Common flavors include dark berry fruits like blackberry and cherry, complemented by black pepper, spice, and sometimes a hint of licorice or violets. In the case of oak-aged versions, subtle notes of vanilla and cocoa may be introduced.

Different Styles of Wine

Blaufränkisch can be crafted into a variety of styles, from youthful, fresh and fruit-forward wines to complex, structured versions with ageing potential. Younger styles tend to emphasize the grape’s fruitiness and vibrant acidity, while oak-aged Blaufränkisch or those from older vines can offer more tannic structure, complexity, and depth, often with a profound minerality.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

Winemaking techniques for Blaufränkisch vary based on the intended style. Some winemakers opt for stainless steel or large, old oak casks to preserve the grape’s fresh fruit characteristics. Others choose small oak barrels for maturation, which can add tannin structure, complexity, and additional flavors to the wine. Extended ageing can further enhance the wine’s depth and complexity.

Important Regions

While Blaufränkisch is grown in various parts of Central Europe, Austria is perhaps its most recognized home, especially the regions of Burgenland and Mittelburgenland. In Hungary, where it is known as Kékfrankos, it plays a significant role in the wines of Villány and Szekszárd. The variety is also found in Germany (as Lemberger), the Czech Republic (as Frankovka), and Slovakia.

Food Pairing Suggestions

The high acidity and robust structure of Blaufränkisch make it an excellent companion for a wide range of foods. It pairs well with hearty meat dishes like beef goulash, lamb, game, and sausages. It also complements dishes with earthy or smoky flavors, as well as hard, aged cheeses.

Savor the multifaceted charm of Blaufränkisch, a grape that truly encapsulates the spirit and terroir of Central Europe.

Take a quiz to test your knowledge

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

Wine Sections

Tasting and Enjoying Wine | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Tasting & Enjoying Wine

Understanding Wine Making | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Making

Understanding Wine Regions | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Regions

Understanding Grape Varieties | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Grape Varieties

Understanding Wine Labels | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Understanding Wine Labels

The Wines of the World | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

The Wines of the World

Wine Trends & Technology | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Trends & Technology

Wine and Food Pairing | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

My Wine Adventures

Wine & Food Diary | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine and Food Pairing

Wine Reviews | Bernard Marr | Wine Cellar

Wine Reviews

Some of my most memorable wines