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.
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