Exploring Blaufränkisch: A Hidden Gem in British Columbia

Mt. Boucherie Blaufrankisch 2017 label
Mt. Boucherie Blaufrankisch 2017 label

Nestled among the vineyards of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley lies a grape variety quietly making waves in the wine world – Blaufränkisch. Blaufränkisch, also known as Lemberger, traces its roots back to Central Europe, particularly Austria and Hungary. The grape is believed to have originated in the region of Lower Styria, now part of Slovenia, before spreading to neighbouring countries. It has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages when it was prized for its deep colour and complex flavours.

Some key characteristics of Blaufränkisch wine:

  1. High Acidity: Blaufränkisch wines typically have high acidity, which contributes to their refreshing finish and helps balance the richness of the fruit flavours.

  2. Dark Fruits: European versions of Blaufränkisch showcase elegance and fruity notes of black cherry and blackberry. These dark fruit flavours are prominent in well-made Blaufränkisch wines.

  3. Herbaceous Spice and Earthiness: Austrian renditions of Blaufränkisch offer additional complexity with herbaceous spice and an earthy finish. These flavours add depth and character to the wine.

  4. Medium Tannins: Blaufränkisch wines have moderate tannins to provide structure. The tannins are not overpowering, allowing the fruit and other flavours to shine.

  5. Aging Potential: Blaufränkisch ages well, and high-quality versions can mature in the cellar for up to 10 years.

Blaufränkisch in British Columbia

While still relatively rare (0.1% of red grapes under vine as of 2019) compared to more established varietals like Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon in BC, Blaufränkisch is gaining recognition among winemakers and wine enthusiasts for its unique characteristics and versatility. It is a late-ripening grape, so only expect it in the Okanagan Valley and other hot interior regions.  A few wineries in British Columbia have recognized the potential of Blaufränkisch and have started producing exceptional wines from this grape. Some notable examples include:

  1. Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery: Located in West Kelowna. Try their MW “Black & Blue” 2021 or their MtB Blau 2022.
  2. Carter Wine Company: Located in Okanagan Falls. Try their Carter Wine Company Lemberger Merlot 2017, a blend of 40% Lemberger and 60% Merlot. 
  3. Blasted Church Vineyards: Also located in Okanagan Falls.  Try their Blaufränkisch Rosé 2023.
  4. Larch Hills Winery: Located in Salmon Arm.  Try their Lemberger 2020.
  5. Ancient Hill Estate Winery:  Located in Kelowna.  Try their Lazerus 2020.

Blaufränkisch represents an interesting addition to British Columbia’s wine scene, offering wine enthusiasts a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of grape varieties cultivated in the region. Whether enjoyed on its own or as part of a blend, Blaufränkisch wines showcase the best of what British Columbia’s terroir has to offer.

Author: mywinepal
Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Food also loves wine so I also cover food and wine pairings, restaurant reviews, and world travel. Enjoy life with me. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Blaufränkisch: A Hidden Gem in British Columbia

  1. Ancient Hills winery in Kelowna makes a 100% Lemberger wine…Lazarus

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