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Rare Grapes: Kékfrankos (aka Blaufränkisch

Welcome to Rare Grape Fridays: a weekly post where we discuss lesser known and rare grapes. Each grape we feature here we also serve at The Rose (we're open seven nights a week and now offering lunch and brunch Thursday - Sunday!) so, if any of these grapes pique your interest, you know where to find 'em!

To lead us off, we have the Kékfrankos (or Blaufränkisch), a relatively new grape when considered next to the millenia-old tradition of winemaking. First mention of Kékfrankos appeared in Hungary in 1890 and Blaufränkish made its debut at a grape-variety exhibition in Vienna in 1862. The birthplace of the grape is still unknown but thought to be in the borderlands of Austria and Hungary.

There are just over 8,000 hectares of Kékfrankos planted in Hungary and a little over 3,000 planted in Austria. In Germany, the grape is called Lemberger where a little over 1,000 hectares are planted. There are less than two hundred hectares of the grape planted in Italy where it is called Franconia Nera. It is also grown in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania where it is called Frankovka Modrá, Gamé and Frankovka. There are limited plantings domestically in New York's Finger Lakes region and Washington State.

The vinified version of the grape we carry at the The Rose is from the Austrian-born producer, Weninger who makes his wines on both sides of Austo-Hungarian border, hence his 2010 Kékfrnankos ($25/bottle) from Balf (Sopron) on the Neusiedl Lake. This wine is stainless steel fermented using only native yeasts and is pumped into big barrels after three weeks of maceration. It is neither filtered nor fined and is minimally sulfered. Expect layers of sour cherry, blackberry and wet soil. This wine will pair beautifully with game or a pungent, ripe goat cheese.

Having dropped that knowledge on you, our fine readers, we hope to see you TOMORROW NIGHT for the South Park WALKABOUT. We'll be outside The Rose from 6 - 9PM selling $3 empanadas from our trusty empanada cart, Empanadita! (rosemary chicken, braised beef and potatoes, cheese and broccoli, nutella and strawberry... to name a few!)

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