Blaufrankisch is probably the most important red variety in Austria. It's a funny little variety that doesn't always excite, though in the hands of the young Hannes Schuster at his family estate, it is taken to the next level. Classically mid-weight, with red and blue fruits, a savoury edge and a chewy, ripe tannin, this wine ticks all boxes on the drink-ability and interest scale.
Rosi Schuster (the winery) was founded in 1979, and the wines are made by Rosi's son, Hannes Schuster who joined the family domain in 2005. Hannes is fastidious in his vineyard work, practicing organics (in transition to certification), and is passionate about the native red Austrian varieties Blaufrankisch, Rotburger and St. Laurent. When you talk to Hannes he speaks about his vineyards first, not his wines, and to us at Press, that is a good sign.
The estate farms 11 hectares of vines, the oldest of which are 60 years old. The soils are diverse because the Schuster's work across various villages in the area. In the main these are sandy, loamy soils, limestone soils and clay-loam soils, with slate featuring to a lesser extent. All of these soils limit vigour and enhance intensity.
The Blaufrankisch is genuinely medium bodied with earth, spice, fresh herbs and brambly fruit on the nose. The wine is pure on the palate with medium bodied, dark fruit flavours, and a peppery, gravelly, briary character that Blaufränkisch can deliver so well. If you haven't had much Blaufrankish, Schuster (along with his mentor Moric) are the perfect place to start, as they really are quality leaders. Think Pinot Noir in weight with darker fruits and more pepper spice. This version has a cleansing acidity and ripe, chewy tannins that frame the wine and make it perfect for quality early drinking.
This is not one for keeping too long in the cellar. I would be working through these over the next two years and enjoying the freshness that is on offer. As you step up in to some of Schuster's older vines and single vineyards you will see the ethereal nature and power that allow for longer term ageing. If you like this wine and want to explore even more serious examples, just let us know.
For pairing, this is versatile. Grilled poultry, sausages or a classic Austrian veal schnitzel with potato salad will suit just fine.