Blaufr\u00e4nkisch originated within what was the Austro-Hungarian empire, where it\u2019s still prevalent today. The suffix -fr\u00e4nkisch dates to the early Middle Ages and was used in countries where German was spoken to designate a family of wine grapes considered superior, promulgated by Charlemagne, King of the Franks.\r\n\r\nIt was in 1862 that the name Blaufr\u00e4nkisch first appeared, at an exhibition in Vienna. In 1877, the grape turned up in Germany under the name Lemberger, and then 13 years later in Hungary as K\u00e9kfrankos, the literal translation of Blaufr\u00e4nkisch.\r\n\r\nThe grape\u2019s other names from traditional growing regions include Franconia or Frankonia (northern Italy), Frankovka (Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia), Gam\u00e9 (Bulgaria), Burgund Mare (Romania), Frankovka Modr\u00e1 (Slovakia) and Modra Frankinja (Slovenia).\r\n\r\nIt performs best in cool continental climates, where it makes beautiful, perfumed wine reminiscent of Syrah, Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir. It\u2019s also highly site specific. Considering the general movement toward purity and transparency, and slimmer, fresher wines, Blaufr\u00e4nkisch is an effortless fit.\r\n\r\n\r\nUnited States\r\nIn New York\u2019s Finger Lakes region, where some 70 acres of the grape are planted, it\u2019s labeled either as Lemberger or Blaufr\u00e4nkisch. From the earliest days of the New York\u2019s wine industry, Lemberger was pegged as an ideal grape for the typically frigid winters. The harsh climate that shares similarities with Austria and Germany didn\u2019t go unnoticed by industry pioneers. \u201cWe get full flavor ripeness and quality wine even in challenging years,\u201d says Nancy Irelan, co-owner of Red Tail Ridge Winery.\r\n\r\nIn Washington, trials to determine the commercial viability of Vitis vinifera, led by Dr. Walter Clore in the late 1960s and early \u201970s, Lemberger shined, and there was even talk that it could be the state\u2019s flagship variety. Today, just over 50 acres are planted to the grape statewide.\r\nCanada\r\nBlaufr\u00e4nkisch was planted in British Columbia\u2019s Okanagan Valley in 1930. It\u2019s cherished by the half-dozen wineries who produce it. But Canada\u2019s most shining example comes from the other side of the country, in Nova Scotia: Lightfoot & Wolfville\u2019s excellent Terroir Series K\u00e9kfrankos.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur cool climate and long growing season accentuate the grape\u2019s fresher flavors\u201d, says Head Winemaker Josh Horton.\r\nAustralia \r\nThe Adelaide Hills are Australia\u2019s Blanfr\u00e4nkisch-growing epicenter, and Hahndorf Hill Winery in particular, where it was first planted in the early 1980s by a German immigrant. Current owner Larry Jacobs has since planted more.\r\n\r\nCelebrated Yarra Valley producer Mac Forbes also admires Blaufr\u00e4nkisch, as he worked formerly in Austria\u2019s Carnuntum region. He has since imported his own massale selections and planted them in the estate\u2019s dry-farmed vineyard. The first bottlings are eagerly anticipated.