Wine Review: Hillinger Blaufränkisch Leithaberg DAC 2016

hillingerBlaufränkisch (also known as Lemberger) is one of Austria’s principle red grapes. It is little known in the U.S. which is a shame because this varietal can produce rich, elegant wines at affordable prices. The selection in the U.S. is limited so I decided to track down the highest scoring Blaufränkisch on Wine Searcher available in the U.S.—this 2016 from Leithaberg DAC, an appellation in the north of Burgenland on the Hungarian border.

It shows intense aromas with good depth—blackberry, mushroom, cinnamon and sage notes stand out with hints of brown sugar beginning to show.

In the mouth, a seam of tart,vibrant fruit rests on a layer of plush round fruit giving the wine structure and delineation. It’s full bodied up front but slowly turns more lean and firm as it evolves with a scintillating mineral seam that gradually fades to a long elegant finish marked by high acidity and spicy top notes. The tannins are prominent but powdery and drying.

I get a mysterious, mystical feel from this wine, it’s perfumed, spice notes and shifting textures give it an otherworldly demeanor, the soaring acidity, anchored tannins, and unfathomable aromas creating an impression of vast distances. It called for the musical space occupied by Jan Garbarek’s ethereal soprano sax in Red Wind. (Play on Spotify)

Notes: Native yeast fermentation in open wooden barrels for three weeks including maceration, aged for 24 months in new oak barrels.

Score: 93

Price: $37

Alc: 13%

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