2011 Murh-van der Niepoort Blaufrankisch, Carnuntum, Austria

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We don't see many Blaufrankisch wines and of those we do see, there aren't a lot we'd like to share with our guests. However, this rather graceful version from Murh-van der Niepoort is one we proudly and enthusiastically include in our selection. Winemaker, Dorli Murh calls it, "Samt & Seide” or “Velvet & Silk” which is an appropriate name for it does indeed recall an elegant and fresh Burgundian style wine, just as she and Dirk Niepoort envisioned, with a velvety mouth feel and silky finish. And it really shows off its limestone minerality throughout the nose, mid palate and end with clear intention. It was aged for two years in neutral French oak barrels before release. The wine might show even better with a very slight chill and would be a fine partner to lightly spiced dishes.

With the help of her husband, Dirk Niepoort (of Niepoort Wines in Portugal), Dorli Muhr resurrected a five hectare plot of vines she inherited from her family in 2002. The vineyard is located in Spitzerberg, a nature preserve of lower Austria south-east of Vienna in the district of Carnuntum, a region known for its Blaufränkisch (or Lemberger as it’s known in America) wines. Dirk was especially attracted to the area because it reminded him of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or with its limestone and granite soils and cool, dry climate. And because he thinks Blaufränkisch is “the most elegant variety in the world, besides Pinot Noir.” The couple is now divorced but they continue to work together and have grown the vineyard to cover 13 hectares which are also planted to smaller amounts of Syrah and Merlot. They also grow Riesling and Grüner Veltliner in nearby Prellenkirchen. However, Dorli’s primary focus is Blaufränkisch and she produces three different 100% bottlings.

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