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The Austrian red wine grape variety Blaufränkisch stands for elegance and finesse. In addition to the usual recommendations for meat dishes, the wines also accompany fish and vegetables at a high level. Master sommelier Alexander Koblinger from Restaurant Döllerer reveals his most surprising favourites.

BlaufränkischAustria's second most important red wine variety with 2,580 hectares, is not a fibre flatterer with its distinctive tannin and acid structure and definitely needs a lot of bottle ageing. However, it is recognised by experienced international wine lovers as a variety with great potential. In Germany, Blaufränkisch is cultivated on 1,940 hectares, although mostly under the name Lemberger. This puts it in fifth place among German red wine varieties. The grape variety is mainly produced in Württemberg.

Alexander Koblinger MS has been head sommelier at Restaurant Döllerer in Golling in the province of Salzburg (Austria) since 2016 and is also quality manager at Döllerers Weinhaus in Kuchl. Since 2011, he has been one of only 273 honoured to hold the title of Master Sommelier, has been Sommelier of the Year nine times in various publications and is a "Sake Samurai". However, as he still works directly with guests and combines their wishes with the specialities of Andreas Döllerer's "Alpine Cuisine", he "always keeps his finger on the pulse of the times and developments", he emphasises. Curiosity is one of his strongest motivators.

Wild boar pappardelle, a classic from Döllerer's restaurant cuisine

Das Wirtshaus | cookery book by Andreas Döllerer ©Joerg Lehmann

For Koblinger, the winemaker's art lies in bringing out the terroir without masking the character of the grape variety and its subtle flavour. He therefore recommends Blaufränkisch from different Austrian origins not only with game and meat dishes, but also with dishes that do not initially belong in the Blaufränkisch cosmos. He characterises the regional wine types of the grape variety in Austria as follows:

"On the Leithaberg and in Rust, the soils of limestone and slate as well as the influence of nearby Lake Neusiedl lend the wines remarkable minerality, complexity and finesse. The wines are delicate, elegant and refined and have a lively acidity.

The Blaufränkisch from the rather dry Spitzerberg reveal the flavour and structure of a cooler climate and chalky soils. They have elegance and lightness, but also depth and concentration.

In the gently rolling hills of Mittelburgenland, the cool clay soils moderate the summer heat and store water. The wines are powerful with a balanced combination of dark berry fruit and spicy notes.

On the Eisenberg in southern Burgenland, the variety shows further facets. The ferruginous slate soil gives the wines a salty, spicy minerality and unmistakable notes of blood orange and pepper."

According to the professional, it is important for a fine food pairing "that no concentrated or 'sweet-tasting' Blaufränkisch is used. Elegance should take centre stage." This also applies to German Lemberger wines, regardless of terroir typicity.

Alexander Koblinger MS gave some exclusive pairing tips for wein.plus
of Blaufränkisch wines and food. Most of them are not mainstream - but that's exactly why they are worth trying:

Grilled aubergines like the spicy fruit of Blaufränkisch


Grilled aubergine with tahini and pomegranate:

The delicate and creamy texture of grilled aubergine harmonises well with the elegance and finesse of a Blaufränkisch from the Leithaberg or Mittelburgenland. The fruity notes of the wine complement the sweet and nutty flavours of the tahini sauce and are enlivened by the tart accents of the pomegranate seeds.

Stuffed peppers with tomato sauce and boiled potatoes:

The fine structure and spicy tannins of a Blaufränkisch from Rust or Eisenberg make a flavourful complement to the juicy stuffed peppers. The fruity flavours of the wine combine wonderfully with the creamy, slightly sweet tomato sauce, while the boiled potatoes create a perfect balance.

Grilled catfish draped with bacon:

A Blaufränkisch from Leithaberg or Eisenberg goes perfectly with this flavoursome fish dish. The flavours of the wine complement the savoury notes of the bacon, while the 'fattier' texture of the catfish is lightened by the lively acidity of the wine.

Pappardelle with wild boar ragout:

The more intense representatives from Spitzerberg or Leithaberg are an excellent accompaniment for the hearty wild boar ragout. The fruity and spicy aromas of the wine combine with the rich and hearty flavours of the ragout.

Farmhouse bread with olive tapenade and crispy bacon:

A Blaufränkisch from Rust or Mittelburgenland is an ideal choice for this rustic dish. The elegance of the wine balances the savoury, spicy and "dark" components of the tapenade and bacon, while the fruity notes of the wine add depth to the dish.

Spicy and fruity Blaufränkisch and the spicy freshness of the avocado salsa highlight the flavours of the tuna


Grilled tuna with spicy peppers and black sesame seeds or a spicy avocado salsa:

The elegance and finesse of a Blaufränkisch from Leithaberg or Rust go wonderfully with this dish. The fruity and spicy aromas of the wine complement the spiciness of the peppers or the zesty freshness of the avocado salsa and enhance the flavours of the grilled tuna.

Bacon lentils:

The subtle and finely structured Blaufränkisch from Leithaberg or Spitzerberg perfectly complement the savoury and earthy aroma of the bacon lentils. The delicate acidity of the wine balances out the fattiness of the bacon and makes for a flavourful experience.

Vegetable couscous with mint:

A Blaufränkisch from Eisenberg or Mittelburgenland would be an exciting choice for this light and flavourful dish. The fresh fruit notes and delicate acidity of the wine complement the fresh flavours of the couscous vegetables and mint.

Ratatouille with polenta:

The elegance and fine tannins of a Blaufränkisch from Leithaberg or Mittelburgenland bring out the variety of flavours in the ratatouille. The fruity notes of the wine combine seamlessly with the grilled vegetable flavours, while the creamy polenta is a wonderful complement.

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