2020 Moric Blaufränkicsh, Burgenland, Austria
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ABOUT THIS WINE
The fruit comes from 8-50 year old vines grown on limestone, primary rock and loam in the villages of Neckenmarkt and Lutzmannsburg. Harvested at a yield of 25 hectoliters per hectare and fermented on the skins for about 20 days partly in open vats and steel tank.
Harvested at a yield of 25 hectoliters per hectare and fermented on the skins for about 20 days partly in open vats and steel tank. Élevage happens in 600-4500 liter casks for about a year. Only indigenous yeasts are used primary and secondary fermentation, no filtration and no fining techniques are employed. The wine is therefore vegan. Only tiny amounts of sulfites are added.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
While the Velich family have stuck faithfully to the traditional Austrian line of making white wines, Roland broke away in the ‘90s to create his own enterprise making reds from the Blaufränkisch variety.
The project was called ‘Blaufränkisch Unplugged’. Under the "Moric" label, Roland released his first wine with the 2001 vintage, albeit only a couple of thousand bottles. The fruit is drawn from the relatively unknown (Mittel) Burgenland region, an hour’s drive due south-east of Vienna on the Hungarian border.
In fact this ancient Pannonian region only became part of Austria in 1921, hence why the Hungarian influence remains strong; the grape is called Kekfrankos across the border. Roland sets out to make tiny quantities of ‘terroir’ wines, allowing the grape to express the rich minerality of the mica slate, clay and limestone hills overlooking the Nieusiedlersee Lake; notably around the communes of Neckenmarkt and Lutzmannsburg.
He does this through ruthless fruit selection from high density old vineyards, minimal intervention during vinification, and elevage in large oak…delivering a wine the combines the pleasure of Piemontese Nebbiolo and Burgundian Pinot Noir.
In the words of the Austrian specialist for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, "His are wines in a style you will not encounter anywhere else in Austria: Blaufrankisch vinified as if it were Grand Cru Burgundy, and from hillsides (including terraces) and pre-clonal vines the like of which you will not find being cultivated in most of Mittelburgenland. One sip is an Oz experience (and I don't mean Aussie, mates!). From his dreams to his vines, to his vinification, to his retro label, Velich is in a world of his own. He calls his project Blaufrankisch Unplugged."