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The Blaufrankisch grape is an obscure varietal grown in eastern and central Austria and sporadically across Eastern Europe. But it's a grape that demands attention, because in the hands of skilled producers, like the Iby family, it can produce wines of great complexity. Described as a combination of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Gamay, it has some of the grace of Pinot, the meaty structure and tannins of Syrah and some of the bramble of Gamay. And like all three, it can be adept at expressing the nuances of place. In this case, that place is the gravelly clay soils of central Austria, where Anton Iby, the fifth generation of the winemaking family, transforms old, low-yielding vines into compelling reds.
The up-front red-fruit flavors are unmistakable--brash, pure and vibrant--but the secondary tastes of meat, mint and brambly forest floor are what give the wine its complexity. The suave tannins are balanced with a refreshing acidity.
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