Friday afternoon, Austrian insiders, wine bloggers, media and friends gathered at the Austrian Wine Cultural Forum in NYC for an intimate tasting of the effects of terroir on Blaufränkisch, an Austrian red grape known for dark berries, herbal spices and medium tannins.

The event was very informal but featured wines of: Dorli Muhr, Sylvia Prieler, Paul Achs, Uwe Schiefer, Josef Umathum, Roland Velich from Moric & David Scildknecht. Several of the winemakers were in attendance so it was an incredible learning experience.

The majority of the grapes had been grown in two soil types: clay soil, which we found to be tannic and sturdy and limestone that was lighter, fruitier and more refreshing. It was hard to choose which style we liked better!

The event was hosted by James Wright and Stephan Sciendler of Winemonger but the intent Friday afternoon was not to sell wine. Instead wines from several different importers were gathered for the greater good of increasing the knowledge of indigenous, Austrian grapes that are just now reaching the attention level they deserve.

As a reference point, Blaufränkisch follows an old world style of wine making, very much drawing off of the terroir of their respected regions and taking on earthy notes of the soil. While good in their youth, some age will help meld the complex flavors of the wine together that create a softer mouth feel but with the same structure.

Blaufränkisch is a force to be reckoned with. Do not be surprised to see it at a local retailer near you soon!