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What our expert thought of Wachter-Wiesler, 'Béla-Jóska' Blaufränkisch

about this wine About this wine
Blaufränkisch is regarded as Austria’s best red grape. Austria is similar to Germany in having a small number of very large wine regions, within which wines are distinguished by their grape variety and defined levels of ripeness. In recent years they have begun to introduce another classification modelled on the French Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée called DAC (Districtus Austriae Controllatus), to recognise the best examples of particular regional styles. There are only nine DACs so far, of which two are for Blaufränkisch: Mittelburgenland and Eisenberg.
This wine comes from the Eisenberg DAC, and is grown on the south-facing hillsides above the villages of Deutsch-Schützen and Eisenberg, where the unique soil (iron-rich loam over slate) is believed to be responsible for Eisenberg’s distinctively spicy and earthy character.
Wachter-Wiesler is a family-owned winery formed by the marriage of two local winemaking families. Béla and Jóska were the heads of the families at the time, grandfathers of the bride and groom, and this wine is named after them. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks using naturally-occurring yeast, and was aged for a year in very large old oak barrels. These allow the wine to stabilise without imparting any noticeable oak flavours.
the tasting The Tasting
The wine is a distinctive deep reddish-purple colour. Few wines are purple and then only for a year or two after the vintage, so to see it in a 2013 is quite a surprise. The ‘Blau’ in Blaufränkisch means ‘blue’ and it’s obvious how the grape got its name.
There’s a distinctive earthy-spicy nose with a minerally note that reminds me of copper coins. Under that there are dark small-berry fruits - blueberry, mulberry and blackberry. They smell concentrated rather than sweetly ripe, hinting at hidden power. Even at three years old, this smells very primary - of the grapes and the vineyard, rather than of oak and aging.
This is dry and medium-bodied, with fine acidity - it tastes very clean and refreshing. The power implied by the nose reveals itself in quite intense flavours, with those dark berries being joined by slightly sour black cherries. There’s also lots of white pepper, especially on the medium-length, minerally finish. There are tannins here, and of just under medium intensity, but they're so fine that it takes several mouthfuls to notice them.
Fruity but focussed, ripe but restrained, this is textbook Blaufränkisch and a great example of Austrian red. Having no oak flavours allows the character of the grape and the region to shine through, delivering a distinctly different take on red wine compared to the ones we’re used to.

Tasting notes

deep ruby, almost purple

Intensity medium

Aromas medium, earthy-spicy nose (copper coins) with concentrated (rather than sweetly ripe) dark small-berry fruits (blueberry, mulberry, blackberry). Very primary, unoaked.

Development developing

Sweetness dry

Acidity medium+

Body medium

Tannins medium- but so fine it takes a while to notice them

Intensity medium+

Flavours dark berries (as nose) and slightly sour black cherries

Length medium

Flavours white pepper
Other notes

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