Columnist, Food

 Austrian blaufrankisch is, alas, a niche wine harder to find than it should be. Claus Preisinger wines are not distributed in the Washington area, and the fine examples produced by Prieler, part of the Terry Theise portfolio, are available only to restaurants on special order. Hillinger wines are available through Virginia-based importer Klaus Wittauer.

-- D.M.

Hillinger Blaufrankisch Leithaberg 2010


Burgenland, Austria, $39

The 2010 vintage of this wine should reach local retail shelves in early to mid-May. It is rich and moderately tannic, with a supple mouth feel that discourages one from swallowing the wine, followed by a lingering finish that creates a thirst for the next sip. It should improve for five to six years or more.

Prestige in the District and Maryland, Select Wines in Virginia: Available in Virginia at Balducci’s (Alexandria, McLean), Market Street Wineshop and Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, Unwined in Alexandria, Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, Trummer’s on Main in Clifton.

Steindorfer Blaufrankisch Alte Reben 2011

★★1 / 2

Burgenland, Austria, $28

Ernst Steindorfer doesn’t speak English, and his son Roland doesn’t speak much. So when I visited the region last December, I did most of the talking. Much of that was grunting my approval of this wine, made with grapes grown on 40-year-old vines (“alte reben” means “old vines”) and aged primarily in new oak barrels. The wine is dense and spicy, with toast and caramel on the finish. I tasted a barrel sample; the wine was subsequently bottled unfiltered and is now available.

Prestige in the District and Maryland, Select Wines in Virginia: Available in Virginia at Market Street Wineshop in Charlottesville, Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington, Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Trummer’s on Main in Clifton.

Hillinger Blaufrankisch 2011

★★1 / 2

Burgenland, Austria, $20

Juicy, delightful aromas of cherries and cocoa come forward while the light-bodied, supple fruitiness impresses with complexity and finesse rather than weight or power.

Prestige in the District and Maryland, Select Wines in Virginia: Available in the District at  Calvert Woodley, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Rodman’s, Wagshal’s Market. Available in Maryland at Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Arrowine, Curious Grape, Grateful Red Wine & Gift Shop, Screwtop Wine Bar & Cheese Shop and Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Balducci’s (McLean, Alexandria); various Wegmans locations.

Judith Beck Blaufrankisch 2011


Burgenland, Austria, $16

It’s on the lighter side, which has me thinking everyday foods like burgers or pizza. But the classic cherry-pepper blaufrankisch flavors are here. Tasty.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Ace Beverage. Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Wine and Beer in Bethesda, Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington. Available in Virginia at German Gourmet in Falls Church, Slater’s Market in Alexandria.

Paul Achs Blaufrankisch Heideboden 2011

Burgenland, Austria, $22

This wine emphasizes the aromatic, fruity side of blaufrankisch, though there is just enough earthiness on the finish to keep it grounded. Unfortunately, although this wine is available in the Washington area, the local distributor has found that stores are reluctant to take a chance on a red wine with a difficult name from a country better known for its whites.

Winebow: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits.

More from Food:

A view to a silky, sour Austrian red


★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.