Kékfrankos/Blaufränkisch – the blue promise


Hungarian flagship red variety

Do you know Blaufränkisch or Kékfrankos, as it is known in Hungary? Fill in our quiz in 5 minutes, and if you need to obtain more knowledge, go on reading!

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„Dark-skinned, dark-fruited Austro-Hungarian variety increasingly well grown and vinified, gaining ground” – says the book Wine Grapes. Hungarian and Austrian history was tied together for centuries, and though now the Habsburg empire is only a thick chapter in our history books, Kékfrankos captures our common destiny. Indeed, Kékfrankos is the most promising indigenous grape variety in Hungary, and it gives really stunning wines in Austria as well. We have exhibited Villányi Franc wines recently at Vinisud, the 100% Cabernet Franc wines were well received, but a high percentage of the visitors to our stand were looking for indigenous grape varieties, some of them even named Kékfrankos as the one they are looking for. And they were right: Kékfrankos is a grape with huge potential.

The most widely planted black grape of Hungary

Hungary has over 8000 hectares (according to some source 7300 ha) of Kékfrankos, which makes it the most widely planted black grape of Hungary. In Austria Blaufränkisch is the second behind Zweigelt with 3000 hectares. Germany has a little bit more than 1700 hectares (and known as Lemberger or Limberger), Slovakia has almost the same amount under the name Frankovka Modra, in Romania and Croatia more than 800 hectares (known as Burgund Mare in Romania and Frankovka in Croatia). You can find small plantations in other countries like Italy (Franconia Nera in Friuli, 127 hectares), Serbia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Spain, Australia, USA, Canada and even in Japan.

For the history of Kékfrankos, scroll down under the wines.

Some notable Kékfrankos wines from Hungary

A fresh and lively wine from the Capital of Kékfrankos, which represents the colour blue on the nose as well (‘Kék’ in Kékfrankos means blue): plum, blueberry and blue flowers with charming, playful spicy notes. Spices dominate the zesty palate supplemented by ripened fruits like cherry and plum.

‘Tanyamacska’ is an old term for the guys who used to spend their time – even if they did not have to – in the winery. The Kékfrankos made in a typical Szekszárd style shows the excitement of the variety with the richness of fruits and acidity, but at the same time it reflects the mildness of the wine region.

‘Grand Bleu’, a magnificent Kékfrankos. This 100% Kékfrankos wine comes from the top (500m) of our Grand Cru Nagy Eged vineyard. The dense color is followed with concen- trated aromas of nutmeg, allspice, black cherry and tobacco. These aromas are continued on the palate by flavors of plum, black cherry and plain chocolate, all tied together with balanced acids and silky tannins.

Our grape

The origin of the grape is undoubtedly Austro-Hungarian. “From the Middle Ages onwards, the name Fränkisch was given to several high-quality varieties, indicating their superiority over the inferior Heunisch varieties. One of these high-quality varieties might have been Blaufränkisch, whose name did not appear until 1862 at a grape-variety exhibition in Wien (Vienna; Aeberhard 2005) and was officially adopted by the international ampelographic commission in Colmar, France, in 1875. It was later mentioned in Germany under the synonyms Lemberger (1877) and Limberger (end of the nineteenth century), both deriving from the Austrian locations from which the variety was exported to Germany: Lemberg in the Steiermark (Styria) and Limburg in Maissau (Niederösterreich/Lower Austria). In Hungary, the variety was first mentioned in 1890 under the name Kékfrankos, the literal translation of Blaufränkisch.”

Excerpt From: Robinson, Jancis; Harding, Julia; Vouillamoz, Jose. “Wine Grapes (9780062325518).” iBooks.

From Sopron to Eger

Vigorous, early budding and late ripening, thus needing a relatively warm climate. It is susceptible to downy and powdery mildews” – as described in Wine Grapes. Kékfrankos is grown in most of the Hungarian wine regions, it is probably the most famous in Sopron region (neighboring Austria), and in the two Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) producing regions: Eger and Szekszárd. In Villány Kékfrankos is also cultivated with great care and believed to have potential. South Balaton, Kunság and Hajós–Baja also produces significant amount and quality.

Sopron – the largest Kékfrankos vineyard in the world

Sopron wine region has more than 1100 hectares of Kékfrankos, and this is the largest Kékfrankos plantation in the world. Sopron, this west Hungarian city is also known as the Capital of Kékfrankos, and it even has its own currency named after Kékfrankos!

Read the whole story of Sopron Kékfrankos currency and the legend of Kékfrankos