Ptujska Klet Pullus Blaufrankisch 2021

This is one of two wines featured in the Thirst Club. Both are from Slovenia, a country that didn't have much of an independent wine industry up until 1991—everything was government-controlled co-ops. However, when they gained independence, small producers were able to begin making wine. They drew on a long winemaking history and the current trend toward more sustainable farming and small-scale production.

This classic Blaufränkisch comes from Ptuj, with town with a lengthy wine history underneath the town is an extensive catacomb that dates back to the 1200s. This wine is full of dense black cherry and blackberry notes wrapped in spice and pepper. It’s medium-bodied with easy, velvety tannins, which makes it a great companion for summer grilling. 

Producer: Ptujska Klet

Country: Slovenia

Region: Podravska

Grape: Blaufrankisch

Red and black fruits, cocoa, black pepper and spices

Then you should try: Syrah from the Rhône Valley, which will be meaty in addition to peppery; Zinfandel or Primitivo, which has rich blackberry notes; and Tempranillo, which also boasts spicy notes.

- Blaufränkisch is a parent grape of Gamay, the variety used to make Beaujolais
- Blaufränkisch is most commonly found in Austria

Pair With: Grilled Pork Chops with Burst Blueberry Sauce

Adapted from Food & Wine

2 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large shallot (about 2 1/4 ounces), finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, plus thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)
¼ cup (2 ounces) dry red wine
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
½ tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Granulated sugar, to taste
8 bone-in pork rib chops, cut 1 to 1½ inches thick
Flaky sea salt, to taste

Step One
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add shallot and chopped thyme; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine, and bring to a simmer over medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost completely reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in blueberries, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blueberries burst and sauce thickens slightly, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Add sugar to taste, 1/4 teaspoon at a time. (The amount of sugar will depend on the sweetness of the berries.) Let sauce cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Step Two
While sauce cools, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Rub pork chops all over with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, and season with remaining 1 tablespoon kosher salt and remaining 1/2 tablespoon black pepper. Grill pork chops, flipping once halfway through cook time, until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 130°F to 135°F, about 10 minutes per side. Remove from grill; cover with aluminum foil, and let rest 10 minutes.

Step Three
Arrange pork on a serving platter, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve with blueberry sauce.