Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Mittelburgenland, wine region whose roughly 2,200 ha/5,400 acres of vines make up nearly 5% of austria’s total. It runs from just south of the city of Sopron to just north of Koszeg, both in hungary but long pre-eminent urban centres of this primarily German- and to a lesser extent Croatian-speaking area that until the creation of Austrian burgenland through a 1921 plebiscite was known as German West Hungary. Mittelburgenland began styling itself Blaufränkischland even before the potential for this age-worthy red wine grape here and elsewhere in Burgenland emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s. blaufränkisch represents significantly more than half of Mittelburgenland vines today. The varied geological underpinnings of Mittelburgenland’s hillsides and plateaus—featuring schist and occasional basalt, loess as well as clay-limestone—play a role in the diversity and complexity of its Blaufränkisch wines. Especially important wine communes include—in a band along the region’s northern edge—Neckenmarkt, Horitschon (with contiguous Raiding), and Deutschkreuz; and in its extreme south, Lutzmannsburg. Blaufränkisch is most often supplemented in this region by Zweigelt, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon—with all of which it is frequently blended—although there are also plantings of Pinot Noir (Blauburgunder) as well as St. Laurent. Plantings of Syrah increased in the early 21st century. Such Blaufränkisch pioneers as Albert Gesellmann and Franz Weninger focused on showcasing top individual vineyards, beginning with Horitschon’s Hochäcker. Early in the new millennium, Roland Velich—from a family of growers of sweet and dry white wines in neusiedlersee—staked Blaufränkisch claims of avowedly Burgundian stylistic inspiration but combined with multi-site blending modelled on J. L. chave. His Moric wines showcasing old vines in Neckenmarkt and Lutzmannsburg soon achieved internationally coveted status.