This is the one that got away. I bought a case of Steele Vineyards Washington State Blaufrankisch 2009 two weeks ago with the intention of tasting it out here each of the last two weeks only to have something else nudge it off the agenda. Now most of it has been sold and it doesn't make sense to open a bottle to sell the remainder. Of course the reason for it being here at all is the quality of the wine itself. It is a sturdy medium bodied multi-purpose red dinner wine.
Blaufrankisch is another of those old european wine grapes that DNA testing can only go so far in determining its origins. One of it's parent grapes is definitely Gouais Blanc which is noteworthy only as a parent of Chardonnay, Auxerois, Aligote, Muscadet, and several other even more arcane varieties. The other parent grape of Blaufrankisch is indeterminate. Blaufrankisch has historically been planted throughout eastern europe and as far west as Austria and Germany where it is called Lemberger. That name comes from a community in Slovenia from whence the grape came to Germany in the 19th century. Among the countries that currently grow Blaufrankisch are Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary where it replaced Kadarka in the Bull's Blood blend.
So what does it taste like? Imagine this...a blend of Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Nebbiolo from Piedmont, and Syrah from the north Rhone. I can't either. How about big, silky, and cranberry-ish. That's better. Here are some more descriptors: dark red cherries, dark berries, spice, medium tannins and good acidity. Now we're getting there. Stop in and try one yourself and please do report back with your own observations. Steele Blaufrankisch retails for $15.99 here.
Tonight we have Tommy Basham tasting out everyday Spanish reds from 5-7pm here at the store. If you attend tonight, hop on one foot circling counterclockwise three times saying "blaufrankish" repeatedly to get a free German Dancake. Gail Avera hosts a tasting on Thursday March 22nd and returns on April 12th with Mariano Cebrian of Panoram Imports with high end Argentines. On April 13th Henry Leung returns with his portfolio of superior California wines. Join us!