Posts Tagged Blaufrankisch

Heidi Schröck & Söhne Blaufränkisch 2022, Ried Kulm, Burgenland

Heidi Schröck & Söhne Blaufränkisch 2022, Ried Kulm, Burgenland

Vibrant fresh dark cherry and plum fruits with a touch of spicy black pepper, good acidity and a tannin-free finish. A great all-purpose wine but best with white meats; chicken or pork chops.

€28 from Blackrock Cellar; The Corkscrew, Dublin 2; Gibney’s, Malahide;

The quality of Blaufränkisch from Austria (as well as neighbouring Hungary, Slovenia and Czech Republic) has been increasing rapidly over the last decade or so. The Ried Kulm is from a single vineyard the oldest of Heidi’s sites, planted her great aunts in 1955. Heidi Schröck was one of the first female winemakers in Austria, “certainly the first one to put it on the label” she tells me. “I didn’t think it was too difficult but looking back now it was not easy. It was physically tough. I had no forklift in 1983. Females in those days were watched very closely. I used to contact any female winemaker around the world I read about and made some life-long pen friends.” In 2001, she was a founder member of Eleven Women and their Wines, a group promoting female wine producers. In 2020, she was joined by her sons Georg and Johannes. Based in Rust on the Neusiedlersee, she makes a wide range of red, white, rosé, sparkling and sweet wines.

Posted in: The Wine on Wednesday, Top Drop

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My Top Ten Red Wines under €20 for 2016

This post came about as a result of a challenge set by a Twitter follower; to name my top five red wines for under €20. I have expanded it out here to ten wines. All have appeared in the Irish Times or on my blog before, and many in Wilson on Wine 2017, but I thought it might be good to see them all together. Doubtless they will change soon. In the meantime I have bought myself six bottles each of the Dâo, Geil Pinot, and Roka for drinking over the next few months.



DSCF7103Albizu Tempranilllo 2015, VdT de Castilla, Spain


I have a weakness for unoaked (or very lightly oaked) Rioja. I love the lively aroma, the pure cherry fruits and the refreshing acidity. Here they come together in an easy-drinking but sophisticated wine, great for sipping alone or for drinking with a variety or red and white meats. This example, made by a Rioja producer, from grapes grown within the region, doesn’t actually have the name Rioja on the label, but it certainly tastes like it. Worth buying in quantity for the season ahead.


€11.95-€12.95 from Mitchell & Son; Avoca Rathcoole; Le Caveau, Kilkenny; Baggot St wines; Blackrock Cellar; Corkscrew; Fallon & Byrne; Listons; MacGuinness; Green Man; 64 Wines; World Wide Wines.



Sa de Baixo 2014Sa de Baixo 2014, Douro, Portugal       


This has been one of my go-to wines for a few years now, and I know I am not alone; many of our independent wine shops do a brisk trade with it. The label has changed recently, but the wine is just as good . Succulent ripe red fruits with a smooth tannin-free finish. Light harmonious and very quaffable. A good all-rounder to drink by itself or with white meats – creamy chicken with pasta sounds good.


€13.50 from Mortons, Ranelagh; McHughs; Blackrock Cellar; Gibneys, Malahide; Avoca Rathcoole; Wicklow Wine Co.; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Baggot St Wines; DrinkStore, D7; Martins, Fairview; Browns Vineyard, Portlaoise; Red Island, Skerries; Probus, Fenian St; Sweeneys, Glasnevin; 64 Wine, Glasthule.



DSCF6516Borsao Garnacha Seleccíon, Campo de Borja, 2015, Spain


The label is fairly dazzling, and so is the wine. The Campo de Borja region produces large quantities of big ripe warming red wines, usually made from Garnacha. This is a warm hug of a wine. 14.5% alcohol, it is big, rounded and ripe with soft spicy strawberry fruits and a very decent supple finish. Fantastic value for money. Perfect for barbecues and other red meats.



€13.95 from Bradleys, Cork; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Next Door, Arklow; & Searsons Monkstown; Drinkstore, D7.



DSCF7060Acón Joven 2014, Ribera del Duero, Spain


A world away from the big tannic oaky monsters that once made up most of Ribera del Duero. This unoaked ‘young’ wine has forward floral aromas and delicious pure damson fruits. It packs a fair punch too, coming in at 14.5%, but you would hardly know it. Great value for money and perfect with roast lamb and beef.


€14.50 Red Island Wines; 64 Wine; Wicklow Wine Co; Clontarf Wines; Listons, Camden St.




Domaine des NuguesDomaine des Nugues, Beaujolais Villages 2014, France    


Beaujolais is finally coming back into fashion as we seek wines that are lighter in style. I spent a few lovely days in the region earlier this year, tasting the various crus. I also visited this estate. This wine is one of the best, and certainly superior to many of the cheap Fleurie you will come across in the shops. Wonderful aromas and pure sweet red cherry and blackcurrant fruits with a touch of liquorice. Patés, cheese and all things porcine, including belly of pork, ham and boiled bacon, as well as roast chicken.


€16.75 from Martin’s, Fairview; 64 Wine, Glasthule.




Roka BlaufränkischRoka Blaufränkisch 2015, Stajerska, Slovenia


Made by Irish couple Sinéad & Liam Cabot from their own grapes, both this and their equally delicious white Šipon are really good wines, and quite amazing for a first real effort after a few limited releases. The Blaufränkisch is a true vin de soif, with fresh supple cherry and damson fruits, but that really does it a disservice; this is a wine with plenty of depth and concentration. Well worth seeking out.


€16.99 from Cabot & Co;, Westport; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; Grapevine, Dalkey; The Poppyseed, Clarinbridge; McCambridges, Galway.




DSCF6122Dâo Rótulo 2015, Niepoort, Portugal


If your tastes run to rich full-bodied reds, stay away from this wine. It is a delicious refreshing light red with a savoury edge to the clean damson fruits. Moreish, and with a mere 12.5% alcohol, you don’t have to deny yourself.


€16.99 from Redmonds, Mortons, Martins,Jus de vine, Green Man, Donnybrook Fair, Clontarf Wines, Blackrock Cellar and Baggot Street Wines




DSCF7121Geil Pinot Noir 2015, Rheinhessen


Charming free-flowing light supple sweet cherry fruits with a nice kick of acidity. Try it with salmon, tuna or pork. I have tried this several times in wine bars recently, including La Touche and Grapevine in Dalkey. It seems to suit all tastes, and is light enough be drunk without food.


€16.95-17.95 from La Touche; Grapevine; Mortons; Sweeneys; Redmonds; Wicklow Wine Co; Mitchell & Son; Listons; Jus de Vine; Drinkstore; Corkscrew; Blackrock Cellar; 64Wine.




DSCF5905Ch. Pey-Bonhomme Les-Tours 2012, Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux, France

This was a really enjoyable wine, classic Bordeaux, with clean blackcurrant fruits, a seam of acidity running through, and a light dry tannic bite on the finish. I had mine with a roast shoulder of pork (Tamworth, from, excellent) and it was very good. I suspect it would be even better with lamb. Affordable well-made Bordeaux.

€19 from Green Man Wines, Terenure; 64Wine, Glasthule; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street; Clontarf Wines; Mortons, Ranelagh.






Quite 2014 BierzoQuite 2014 Bierzo, Veronica Ortega


Medium-bodied and perfumed with fresh clean dark fruits; delicious, but if I was feeling flush I would go for Ortega’s Roc (at €30). I have been on a big Mencía kick for the last few years. I still love the Castro Valtuillé Joven, and the Brezo de Grégory Pérez, both widely available from independents, but I have really enjoyed this several times at home over the last eight months.


€19.50 from 64wine, Glasthule; World Wide Wines, Waterford; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Blackrock Cellars; Clontarf Wines; Drinkstore, D7;


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Roka from Liam & Sinéad Cabot

Roka from Liam & Sinéad Cabot

Roka from Liam & Sinéad Cabot

Sinéad & Liam amongst the vines.

Sinéad & Liam amongst the vines.

I have been writing about Roka, the Slovenian wines made by Irish couple Sinéad & Liam Cabot, for the last year or so. Earlier this year, I visited the ‘winery’ – a the garage underneath their house. True garagistes! See my blog of 9th July. Their wines also feature in my latest wine guide Wilson on Wine 2017.

Good to see then that Tamlyn Currin, on, gives two of their wines, the Furmint and Blaufränkisch, scores of 17/20, higher than many top Bordeaux, Burgundy and other fine wines. The Laski Riesling gets 16.5/20.

Her notes are as follows:

Roka Furmint 2015

Riesling-like elegance, focus and rapier intensity on the nose. Pickled lime and ginger. Such a stunning depth of flavour that the hair on my arms stood up when I first tasted this. Salty and lime and wax and lanolin with the sweet-tang vibrancy of apricots picked straight off the tree. A little hint of green fig, and the ginger-root warmth (but not alcoholic heat) prickling through the palate. Rounded but so precise and with razor-edge definition. Cardamom-spiked lime peel lingers on the finish for a long time. (TC)

Roka Blaufrankisch 2015

Beautifully soft black-cherry and pot-pourri nose, so soft and lovely that you want to rub your cheek against it – if red velvet has a smell, this is it. Wonderful juicy intensity that explodes in the mouth with just a smoky hint of star anise and clove. Then a little crescendo of real biting spiciness – chilli and ginger and Szechuan pepper. Fine, tight, glossy tannins that fit the fruit like a second skin. Absolutely delicious. (TC)


Hats off to Liam & Sinéad!  All this for a mere €16.99 a bottle from Cabot & Co, Westport; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; Grapevine, Dalkey; 64wine, Glasthule.

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Last of the summer wine
Before the nights close in, try some light, fresh and fruity reds
The Irish Times, Sat, Aug 29, 2015, 01:00

It is not quite yet time to stow away the garden furniture for another year, but summer is drawing inexorably to a close. Whether you are heading down to Electric Picnic (see you there at the chocolate and wine matching session in the Theatre of Food?) or (hopefully) just taking in the last few rays, this might be the final opportunity to enjoy summer wines before the dark nights close in. Or is it? If truth be told, I enjoy fresh and fruity wines the whole year round. I love red wine with tuna and salmon, and also with cold meats, charcuterie, chicken and pork. The best red wines for this kind of food are lower in alcohol and lighter in style.

Beaujolais is the first wine that comes to mind, but a glass of cool Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, chilled if the weather is really hot, is thirst-quenching and satisfying. A few months ago, a wine importer called me up in a state of excitement, boasting that he had sourced a Loire Cabernet with 14.5 per cent alcohol and really ripe fruit. I wondered why he had bothered; the whole raison d’être of these wines are those distinctive just-ripe crunchy redcurrant fruits and that tangy fresh acidity.

A decade ago, many were a little too herbaceous with stalky green flavours, and lacked any fruit on the centre-palate. But the overall quality has improved greatly, while prices have remained amazingly cheap. The very best wines can have austere drying tannins and will evolve wonderfully for a decade or more. But most are primed for drinking the summer following harvest. Fresh and fruity, they would be my ideal bistro wines, thirst-quenching and moreish. Either way, they will be naturally low in alcohol.

Cabernet Franc does not have the sweet succulence of a Pinot Noir; it is more austere and reserved, with higher acidity. Chinon is the best-known region for Cabernet Franc, but Bourgeuil, Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil, Saumur and Saumur-Champigny, as well as the catch-all region of Touraine all produce very good versions. Saumur-Champigny tends to be the lightest and freshest, Chinon the smoothest and silkiest, while Bourgeuil tends to be earthier and more structured.

Moving across Europe, an alternative source for light red wines is Blaufrankisch. Light in alcohol and tannin, with crunchy blue fruits, they make for brilliant summery drinking. Austria is the best-known producer, but Blaufrankisch is grown all across eastern and central Europe under various names, usually with the word ‘french’ incorporated; Franconia in Italy, Frankovka in Slovakia, Modra Frankinja in Slovenia and Limberger in Germany.

One enterprising Irish couple, Sinéad and Liam Cabot play tag-team winemaking, flitting between Slovenia and Westport. Their 2013 Roka is delicious, and their Reserve (€ 20.99) even more so. I have also tasted some very good Austrian Blaufrankisch from Claus Preisinger (€ 16.50, 64wine) and J Heinrich (€ 18.99, Wines on the Green). I also tried two very good light fruity wines made from Zweigelt, a step-child of Blaurfankisch, from Waltner (€ 16, On the Grapevine) and Preisinger again.

Lidl’s annual French wine sale starts on Monday September 7th. The emphasis is on Bordeaux. My picks would include the following: the light, balanced Ch Vieux Ligat 2010 (€ 9.99), the impressive Ch Maugresin de Clotte 2010 (€ 11.99), and the delightfully spicy Ch Grand Abord 2010 (€ 12.99). Moving up in price, I enjoyed the Ch La Cardonne 2010 (€ 19.99) a classic firm Médoc, the lush spicy Fugue de Nenin 2006 (€ 30) the mature, soft leafy Ch Phélan Ségur 2007 (€ 24.99), and the sweet ripe Virginie de Valandraud 2012 (€ 30). At the top end, the delicious elegant Reserve de la Comtesse 2010 (€ 35) and the nicely mature Ch Poujeaux 2005 (€ 40) were all very tempting as was the luscious marmalade-scented Sauternes, Ch Muras at € 14.99 per bottle.

DSCF5696Chinon Les Graviers, Domaine des Clos Godeaux 2014

A subtle herbiness that goes perfectly with the juicy light red cherry fruits and a tannin-free finish.

Stockists: Searsons, Monkstown.

DSCF5740Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2014

From one of the best producers in Chinon, a delicious light wine with crunchy redcurrant fruits and a piquant edge.

Stockists: On the Grapevine, Dalkey (; Red Island Wines, Skerries; Cabot and Co, Westport (; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; McCambridges, Galway.

DSCF5790Roka Blaufränkisch 2013, Slovenia

Light and fragrant with free-flowing refreshing dark cherry fruits.

Stockists: On the Grapevine, Dalkey (; Cabot and Co, Westport (; No.1 Pery Square, Limerick; McCambridges, Galway.

Posted in: Irish Times

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Bründlmayer & Muhr van der Niepoort tasting at Greenacres, Wexford

I went to a wine dinner in Greenacres, Wexford last Friday, featuring the wines of the two producers above. It was a great night, with very good food, very good company, and some fantastic wines.

I am more used to meeting Thomas Klinger at the Bründlmayer stand at various trade wine fairs. At these he manages to pour an endless stream of wines to half a dozen clients while imparting a huge amount of information, all without missing a beat. Thomas is hugely knowledgeable and full of enthusiasm. It helps that he works for Bründlmayer, one of Austria’s greatest winemakers.


Willi Bründlmayer produces a large number of wines, mainly white, from his vineyards on the terraced slopes of the Kamptal. Over the last five years, I have come to prefer the wines of this region compared to those of the neighbouring Wachau, which has a higher reputation. Wachau wines tend to be rich and powerful, those from the Kamptal more elegant. The Bründlmayer reds are delicate and refined; the whites are always good and often profound. Thomas showed three wines before dinner, including the stunning rich Grüner Veltliner Kaferberg 2013 (€40). With dinner the stars were the delicious Grüner Veltliner Ried Loiserberg 2011 (€20) and the amazing Gelber Muskateller TBA 2002, transported over by Thomas from Austria but sadly unavailable commercially. In addition to the above wines, I am huge fan of the Bründlmayer Rieslings; my value pick from Greenacres would probably be the 2013 Riesling Kamptaler Terrassen for €17.50.

Dorli Muhr attends the same wine fairs, but is a very different presence with far fewer wines. She runs one of the leading PR agencies in Austria, representing many of the wine producers. However, she is also very involved in her own winery. Having bought a vineyard in Tuscany some years ago, she met Dirk Niepoort of the eponymous Port house. They fell in love and she moved to the Douro. However, when the relationship ended, they collaborated on a project in Austria, where the cooler climate allowed them to produce more elegant refined wines, the style that Muhr herself preferred. Until recently the wines were made by South African Irishman, Craig Hawkins who worked with Eben Sadie and now makes wine at Lammershoek. The vineyards are on the Spitzerberg in Carnuntum. Muhr has planted a mix of grape varieties on the limestone soils, but the star is Blaufränkisch, Central Europe’s native red grape that is now attracting interest worldwide.

Before dinner, we tasted Cuvée Vom Berg, a very decent Cabernet, Merlot, Blaufränkisch blend, the Samt & Seide below and the wonderful Liebkind Blaufränkisch 2012. At €25 this is very good value and a great expression of Blaufränkisch (made from very young vines), a svelte fresh wine with piquant dark fruits. Over dinner, we tried a very good Merlot, Rote Erde 2012 (€22.50), but the conversation switched to Syrah, and Muhr called for a bottle of her 100% Syrah Sydhang 2011, the surprise of the night for me. I am tired of producers telling me how their Syrah is ‘just like the Northern Rhône’, when it clearly isn’t, but the Sydhang certainly had some resemblance, along with a lovely character all of its own. Great value at €22.50 too.

Dorli & Thomas try out Irish cheese

Wines to buy

All of the wines below are available from Greenacres in Wexford. You may also find the Muhr van der Niepoort wines in a few independent wine shops around the country as well. Greenacres have a wide range of both producer’s wines. I have yet to come across a dud from either.

Bründlmayer Grüner Veltliner 2013 Kamptaler Terrassen

Delicious light fresh crisp dry wine with hints of ginger spice and subtle green fruits.

Muhr van der Niepoort Samt & Seide 2012

Superb silky soft wine with blue fruits, balanced acidity and an easy finish. Pinotesque in style, a restrained and elegant wine.

However, if I were wandering around Greenacres, I would certainly be sorely tempted to buy a few bottles of the Bründlmayer Rieslings and the Sydhang Syrah too.

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Claus Preisinger Blaufränkisch 2013, Burgenland, Austria

Claus Preisinger Blaufränkisch 2013, Burgenland, Austria


Available from: 64wine, Glasthule; Clontarf Wines.

Essence of Blaufränkisch – lovely vivid blueberry and damson fruits with no tannins and a very appetising freshness.

This would go nicely with most chicken or pork dishes.

Claus Preisinger is an interesting guy and an inquisitive winemaker, trying out all sorts of natural and amphorae wines. Some are remarkably good. He also makes an excellent range of ‘normal’ wines. I have usually been more impressed with his white wines, but earlier this year I tried several tasty reds, including one of the finest Zweigelts I have tasted. Today though, his Blaufränkisch.

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