Weninger, Kékfrankos Sopron, 2007

Weninger, Kékfrankos Sopron, 2007

It's been a while since I have given Hungary a try, and high time to spread the word about this Kékfrankos (a.k.a. Blaufränkisch, a.k.a Lemberger - you know the drill) from Sopron. It is made from organically grown grapes by the Weninger family of Austria, who has built up a branch of their winery across the border on the other side of Lake Neusiedl.

A youthful wine with its bright red that borders on purple, this has one of the spiciest smells of any reds I have tried: Liquorice, sour cherries, juniper, a good dose of funkiness. It brings sweet cherry aromas, spiced up by eucalyptus, to the palate, a palate that was - once again - so overflowing with spice that I caught myself wishing for a little oak barrel softening. But then I reminded myself that I am a purist when it comes to reds, and pushed such thoughts to the back of my mind. This is a mean little wine, people, bursting with spice and in-your-face fruit, and anything but boring. If you like unoaked traditional italian Barberas, for instance, make sure to give this a try.

To give a little context to this wine review, here is how wines like this make sense to me: Our family fare, and I'm sure this will be the case for many readers, is italian and pasta or pizza-based to a large extent. But - and here lies a small personal tragedy - I have so far had little luck with italian reds, and have all but given up on them. (No offence, Italy lovers: There's no doubt in my mind that there are wonderful italian wines, even in the cheaper price range, it's just that I have so often ended up disappointed or indifferent with what I have picked). So the search for non-oaked, fruit-driven, lighter-bodied, but robust reds is on. And it is within the broader frame of this search that I rate this enjoyable wine as a great success and can thoroughly recommend it.


Submitted by torsten Monday, 26/04/2010

This sounds just like what the doctor had ordered. After all, I suffer from the same problem with Italian reds (albeit on a much more limited scale than you have). Maybe we should make this a 2011 new year's resolution - find good Italian red for a reasonable price? Obviously, if you spend over a hundred quid for a Gaja you would expect something extraordinary, but around 10 Euro or so? Anyway, maybe a mission for next year...

Submitted by Molly Wednesday, 28/04/2010

In reply to by torsten

Nice -- strawberries and red currants, some of the same spice you get from kekfrankos in general. At about 6 EUR / bottle, it's exactly what it should be. If you ever see Weninger's sparkling kekfrankos rose, grab it. It's wonderful.

Submitted by torsten Wednesday, 28/04/2010

In reply to by Molly

'Hot thanks', as we Germans say, for the recommendation. I will keep my eyes peeled for Weninger rose, although I guess that Germany based Julian may have more luck with this one.

Thanks again, Molly!

Submitted by Julian Wednesday, 28/04/2010

In reply to by Molly

Hearing the two of you would put me into a rosé state of mind - only that I was already in it. At the risk of throwing you in a deep pit of envy, Torsten, we're having one from Fellbach in good old Swabia tonight.

Submitted by torsten Thursday, 29/04/2010

In reply to by Julian

I think 'deep pit of envy' summarises it well. I only lived in Fellbach for one year, but I still have fond memories (possibly due to me being a child back then and happy everywhere where they make great Spaetzle - and let's face it, they make excellent Spaetzle there). I wonder if the wine was up to it...

Submitted by Julian Thursday, 29/04/2010

In reply to by torsten