Wenzel Bandkraften Blaufrankisch 2002, 750 mlfrom Wenzel (View all)
Blaufrankisch is a red wine grape grown primarily in Austria, but they are giving it a go in Washington state as well (where they call it Lemberger). The name Blaufrankisch probably dates back to the time of Charlemagne who classified valued varieties as Frankish or Franconian. If that’s true, then his assessment of this grape was spot on and vintner Michael Wenzel shows it off to its best advantage. Bandkraften is the name of the vineyard where the grapes come from and this 2001 vintage was aged for 18 months in small oak barrels, 30% of which were new and 70% used. The Bandkraften is Wenzel’s top-line Blaufrankisch wine and it’s a stunner: black and red berry notes mix it up with dashes of spice and a hint of wood.
|Wine & Spirits||93 - “Wenzel’s Blaufrankisch from the Bandkraften vineyard is rapidly becoming one of the premier red wines of the Neusidlersee region. From the spicy black fruit to the suave, silky tannins, this feels seamless and balanced, its deep flavors picking up exotic accents of black pepper, sumac and Sichuan peppercorn. It’s youthful and energetic, very primary in its tension and freshness of fruit.”|
|Bottle size (ml)||750 ml|
|Residual Sugar||1.6 g/l|
|Cellar potential||Mid term|
The Wenzel wine cellar, located in the heart of the town of Rust, is over 400 years old. When you step inside the first thing you see is an enormous wooden grape press, weathered and ancient like some old grand leviathan. Scratched into the wood you can make out graffiti dating back 100 years.
They stopped using it just 4 years ago.
That‘s how it goes here at Winery Wenzel (“Family run since 1647”) History and tradition run very deep and result in some of the most exquisite noble sweet wines in the world. Their Ruster Ausbruch ‘Saz’ blends Furmint and Gelber Muskateller, which is the recipe followed for hundreds of years and only recently revived by this house. For those more familiar with Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA), Michael Wenzel describes it as such: “The difference between Ausbruch and TBA is a matter of finesse and elegance. The acidity is more pronounced in Ausbruch, while TBA tends to be sweeter.”
But there are distinct new world influences here as well: Michael Wenzel, the latest in the family line, spent time working at the Happ winery in New Zealand and traveled extensively to see and learn how the new world is making great wines before taking over the reins at home. This bridge from old to new shows off best in the red wines: a traditional Austrian varietal such as Blaufršnkisch gives a nod to international wine tastes while still remaining true to its varietal and terroir: the result is a powerhouse both like and unlike anything most folks have quaffed. Michael: “We want to bring back [the red wine's] reputation. To maintain individual styles, but to discuss issues such as oak, acidity to sugar relation, the elegance, the drinkability of the wines. There is a new generation here that understands the importance of creating a prestigious product.”
The west side of the lake... The Austrian wine establishment has now begun to call this region Leithaberg, after the local hillsides themselves, although it is hard to imagine winegrowing in this region without the benificent influence of the lake. The free city of Rust has been famous for its sweet wines for centuries, now producing memorable reds and dry whites as well. The towns of St Margarethen, Donnerskirchen and Grossh√∂flein are all proving to be sources of excellent grapes from the varieties Blaufr√§nkisch and St Laurent, as well as for the more surprising Sauvignon Blanc. The major municipality Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland; the area has been settled since the early Iron Age, and evidence of viticulture exists in Celtic hill burials from nearly three thousand years ago.