Bott Frigyes, Kékfrankos 2019

Kékfrankos|Južnoslovenská, Slovakia

Nevermind the hard-to-pronounce name on the label, this eastern-European red is a distinguished delight, on par with the finest Old World reds you will encounter today.

During the Communist regime of Czechoslovakia, quantity was emphasized over quality and, even after the events of the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the creation of modern-day Slovakia, its wine industry had a lot of catching up to do. Until today. Nowadays, some of the most distinguished wines are being produced from eastern Europe, and Bott Frigyes is a standard bearer for the fine wine revolution of central and eastern Europe. 

Bott, and his son Frici, farm a small plot in Južnoslovenská, a beautiful region sitting on the garam river. The clay and volcanic soils are prime territory for grape-growing, and their operation is fully centered on regenerative agriculture and natural, organic winemaking.

“Kékfrakos” is a synonym for Blaufränkisch, a grape many believe has flourished since the Middle Ages. Its dark color and bold, peppery, silken characteristics make for a distinguished, downright delicious addition to your dinner table. In the Frigyes’ hands, they coax out a cornucopia of pure aromatic notes that immediately made me think of pedigreed Loire Valley Cab Franc or a polished Spanish Mencía. You’ll find in the glass wonderful notes of black damson plum, mulberry, new leather, fresh ground coffee, violets, and supple, natural-derived tannins that accompany and amplify the sumptuous blue-black fruits. It’s firmly medium-bodied, not too shy, not too loud, and is a secret weapon-red for diverse food pairing options. It drinks even better on days two and three – if it lasts that long!

Bottom line: Their Kékfrankos is an approachable, vinous adventure in a bottle, and a thrilling sign of more to come from this up-and-coming region. Enjoy!

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