Region Of The Week: Franken

Introduced to viniculture by the Romans, Franken has been producing wine for over 1200 years. At its peak, Franken had almost 40,000 hectares covered in vines, which declined to 3,500 hectares in the 1980s. Now, the vines are cultivated across 6,100 hectares, with most vineyards located on the hilly south-facing slopes. The two main varietals in Franken are Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner, instead of Riesling like many other German wine regions. Other grapes found in Franken are Bacchus, Kerner, Domina, and Portugieser. 

Franken Wine Region Map From The Greene Grape

Although the vineyards stretch along the Main River, Franken has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. There are three wine producing regions in Franken: the Mainviereck has sandstone soil, mainly cultivates Riesling, and is bordered by the river on three sides; the Maindreieck accounts for over 70% of Franken’s wine production and is located in the middle of the region with shell limestone soil; and Steigerwald is furthest east with marl soil that results in mineral wines. 

The finest wines from Franken are traditionally bottled in Bocksbeutels, a squat green or brown flagon with a round body and short neck. With a few exceptions, only wines produced in Franken can use these bottles. While this bottle shape was used as a water flask while traveling throughout history, in the 18th century Franken’s wine market was being flooded with “fake” Franken wine of inferior quality, so to protect their reputation wine produced at Bürgerspital, Würzburg’s traditional winery, was bottled in Bocksbeutels and specially sealed.

Winzer Sommerach Domina Trocken 2019

Winzer Sommerach Domina Trocken 2019

Little known and largely a Franconian classic, Domina is known for its red-fruited freshness and minerality. This entry from Winzer Sommerach, Franken's oldest wine cooperative, is no exception. Medium-bodied, easy drinking, focused, and fun, this deceptively complex red offers hints of black and red cherry, savory herbs, fine minerality, and zesty acidity. Try it with pierogis, braised rabbit, and other game, or sausage mains.