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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Blue of The Danube

A tasting of mainly Kekfrankos from mainly Danubian countries, organised by Wines of Hungary with masterclasses from Liz Gabay MW

The so-called Blue Danube isn't actually blue; in reality it's a kind of grayish colour.

Blaufraenkisch and I go back many years, but like a mismatched couple in a RomCom, we've never quite hit it off properly.

There have been moments, of course, when we've looked into each others eyes and seen something meaningful, but that initial spark of attraction never really fanned into a flames of desire.

Central Europe was where I first learned to love wine - living and working in Vienna, first came taut, peppery Wachau whites, followed by the wines of Hungary and Romania. Slovakia, just up the road for a day's shopping trip, was a source of good beers but not a wine destination. Not then at least.

So what's changed - is it Blaufraenkisch or me?

As ever, it's probably a bit of both.
Her name means Blue Frankish, for which the Hungarian cognate is Kekfrankos (CAKE-frankosh) and the Slovak Modra Frankovka; unlike Pinot Gris vs Grigio, choice of language does not denote any stylistic connotation. The key influence on Blaufraenkisch's personality is temperature - in milder climates she is pale, delicately cherry fruited and Burgundian; more warmth brings out darker berry fruit, deeper colours and a minty Bordelais character.

So far, so versatile.

This tasting by Wines of Hungary, with several guest appearances, demonstrated the breadth of Kekfrankos ; red, rosé, still, sparkling, varietal, blended, oaked, stainless steel, young, aged, moderate climate and warm climate

All the wines here were at least well-made and thoroughly enjoyable with no technical faults. They were deft, harmonious and balanced with fresh acidity and fine tannins.

Some were paler and more elegant, others deeper and fuller. Many were Good and several were Very Good to Very Good Indeed.

Should you check out Central European Blaufraenkisch / Kekfrankos / Modra Frankovka? On the basis of this tasting, absolutely yes.

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