100% Blaufrankisch [blouw-fran-keesh] (say it with a ridiculously strong German accent just for fun).
Don’t confuse this wine for Blue Steel. They’re two very different things.
Of-course you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of Blaufrankisch before! Otherwise known as ‘Lemberger’ in Germany and Austria, it’s super-obscure, and not too many wineries in the U.S bother to grow it.
Winemaker Jed Steele gained a enology degree from UC Davis (before it was cool), and is most well-known for his wine-making at Kendall-Jackson (you might of heard of them). The popularity of KJ Chard has been attributed to Steele, who supposedly made the small mistake of accidentally leaving a little too much residual sugar in the batch. This gave the Chardonnay a slightly sweeter style than the majority of other Chard’s on the market (at the time).
KJ now sells over 2 million+ bottles of its Chardonnay each year.
Shooting Star is a secondary label of the Steele winery. They try to have a little more fun with their Shooting Star line, and normally age them in oak for a much shorter period of time than the regular Steele line. This typically gives the wines a much more fruit-forward and easy-drinking character.
The wine bears the label of a French "Blue Franc" note, referring to the translation of Blaufrankisch being "Blue Frankish" (Frankish being a type of German grape variety). If the wine wasn’t named “Blue Franc”, and they forced people to try and pronounce Blaufrankisch how many bottles do you think Steele would sell? Bugger all, I say! Clever marketing on the part of Steele!
Depending on the growing season, Blaufrankisch often gets compared to Pinot Noir or Beaujolais in colder years, and Zinfandel in warmer years.
Washington State is located on roughly the same geographical latitude as the French wine regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
52% red to 48% white is produced in Washington; the leading white grapes being Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The reds Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Blaufrankisch ranks 8th in production.
Washington State is 2nd only to California in wine production with over 650 wineries; this compared to only 19 wineries in 1981.
Washington is the first state in the U.S. to define standards for "reserve" wines (the term has no legal definition in California, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). In order for a winery in Washington to classify one of their wines as "reserve", they must limit production to no more than 3,00 cases (or 10% of a winery’s production) and must be a higher quality wine than the other wines they produce.
The Steele website quotes this wine as being "unpretentious" and I would agree. The 2008 Shooting Star "Blue Franc" is nice and fruit forward. Mix of fruits on the nose, but still fairly subtle. Darker in color than I would have expected. As previously stated, the wine doesn’t receive much oak aging, so there is plenty of fruit to taste in this wine, almost to the point where it’s hard to pin point one specifically. Ripe cherries, blueberries and blackberries with earthy notes in the background. Slight hint of cinnamon and vanilla. Very easy drinking, with a medium body and medium-dry finish. I advise you to pick up a bottle, at a very minimum so you can cross Blaufrankisch/Lemberger off your list of grapes to try.
Roast chicken, duck or game meats, barbecue meats, veal, red sauce pastas, or really what ever you want! This wine is so food-friendly, you’ll have a hard time ruining a meal with it!
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