Lemberger is a traditional red grape of Austria. In its native Austria, it is better known as Blaufrankisch. It is grown in a number of other areas around the world, and creates a gentle, easy to drink red wine. It has a soft, “jammy” flavor with hints of black pepper and raspberry, with very little tannins.
Officially classified under the name “Blauer Limberger,” this red grape also goes by the synonyms “Lemberger” and “Blaufrankisch.” This late-ripening grape probably originated in vineyards on the lower stretches of the Danube River. In the second half of the 18th century the grape was documented in Austria and is cultivated there to this day in Burgenland and near Vienna. In Hungary it is known as Kekfrankos. The wine improvement society advocated replacing high-yielding varieties with high-quality grapes (such as Lemberger) in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg in the 19th century. Indeed, Lemberger wines from Wurttemberg were the favorite of Theodor Heuss, the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany, and it is said that the variety was equally as popular with Napolean and Bismarck.
The plantings of Lemberger has grown in the past decade, growing from around 2,500 acres to 4,200 acres.
Lemberger is almost exclusively cultivated in Wurttemberg, where it accounts for around 14% of the total vineyard area.
This grape does very well in the warm, wind protected climate of Wurttemberg, responding well in the fertile, deep loess-loam soils.
Lemberger wines are typically dark in color. They can range from light and fruity, to wines rich in extract and tannins. The bouquet can range from light to powerful, with plum, current, blackberry and banana aromas. Depending on production methods they can have a fruity or tannic accent and a long finish. The lighter style Lemberger wines are best enjoyed with cheese and light BBQ food. The heavier wines go well with lamb, roast beef and most roasted game.