The grape is grown across Central Europe, including Austria,
Czech Republic (in particular the Moravia region), Germany
(where it is known as Lemberger, or Blauer Limberger),
Slovakia (where it is known as "Frankovka modrá"), Croatia
("frankovka") and Slovenia (known as "modra frankinja").
In Hungary the grape is called Kékfrankos (also lit. blue
Frankish) and is grown in a number of wine regions including
Sopron, Villány, Szekszárd, and Eger (where it is a major
ingredient in the famous red wine blend known as Egri
Bikavér (lit. Bull's Blood) having largely replaced the
Kadarka grape). It has been called "the Pinot
Noir of the East" because of its spread and reputation
in Eastern Europe.
profiling has shown that Blaufränkisch is a cross between
Gouais blanc (Weißer Heunisch) and an unidentified Frankish
variety. One of the candidates for the Frankish parent
is Blauer Silvaner. For a long time before the application
of DNA analysis, Blaufränkisch was erroneously thought
to be a clone of the Gamay grape
variety, due to certain similarities in morphology and
possibly due to its name Gamé in Bulgaria.
German name Lemberger derives from the fact that it was
imported to Germany in the 19th century from Lemberg in
Lower Styra in present-day Slovenia and then in the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. A 1877 export of Lembergerreben to Germany has
been recorded. The almost identical name Limberger refers
to Limburg at Maissau in Lower Austria, where in late
19th century "ungrafted Limberg Blaufränkisch vines" (wurzelechte
Limberger Blaufränkisch-Reben) were offered for sale.
State is one of the few major wine regions to have significant
plantings of Lemberger. Grapes of this Washington wine
mostly grow in Yakima Valley, but also at the Olympic
is possible that Blaufaunkisch or a similar forerunner
of the grape was cultivated in regions of present Austria
(Lower Austria and Burgenland) already in the 10th century.
In his 1777 publication Beschreibung der in der Wiener
Gegend gemeinen Weintrauben-Arten, ampelographer Sebastian
Helbling counted the variety as one of the best red grape
varieties of Lower Austria, and used the name Schwarze
Frankische for it.
present-day Austria Blaufraunkisch is the second most
important red grape variety, and covers 5% of the vineyards. It is particularly common
in Mittelburgenland, which is sometimes given the nickname
wines have aromas of dark ripe cherries and dark berries,
are spicy, have medium tannin levels and sometimes very
good acidity. Young wines are deeply fruity and become
more velvety, supple and complex with age.