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The Greatest Red Wine You've Never Heard of: Moric Blaufrankisch!

Apr 15th 2020

"In particular, I was blown away by two wines from Moric, Roland Velich’s effort to probe the potential of blaufränkisch. Velich is an avowed Burgundy lover, and while he is not trying to recreate Burgundy with Blaufränkisch, Burgundy is his inspiration."
- Eric Asimov, New York Times
Every wine lover knows that Austria produces world-class wine, as important a source for profound, age-worthy white wines as Germany or even France. Rightly so. The country's red wines, though, often get short shrift. But when Austrian reds – especially from the Blaufränkisch grape – are great, they can rival the Rieslings and Grüners as some of the best wines in the country, or even the world. There's no winemaker in Austria who achieves this kind of excellence as consistently and often as Roland Velich of Moric.

Today, we're pleased to offer a range of wines from Moric in Austria's Burgenland.

First, a quick geography lesson. The white wines that Austria is so famous for come from three valleys – the Wachau, Kremstal, and Kamptal – to the west of Vienna. Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, and other white varieties make up the overwhelming majority of plantings here. But south and east of Vienna, bordering Hungary, is a region where red grapes are the most prized. This is the Burgenland. And while a whole host of red grapes grow in Burgenland, from international varieties like Pinot Noir and Merlot to the local Zweigelt and Sankt Laurent, the most important grape of the region is Blaufränkisch.

Blaufränkisch is a noble variety, a relative of Chardonnay, Gamay, and Pinot Noir. And when grown and made properly, Blaufränkisch can achieve the sort of complexity, elegance, and finesse these grapes are known for. "Complexity, elegance, and finesse" may as well be Roland Velich's slogan. His bottlings of Blaufränkisch strike a balance between pristine fruit, delicate structure, and a firm imprint of earth that can only call to mind red Burgundy.

Roland comes from a winemaking family, and worked for many years at his family's eponymous winery. But in 2006, driven by the goal of proving that Austria could make red wines to compare with Barolo and Burgundy, he set out on his own. With the Moric project, he focuses almost exclusively on vines of Blaufränkisch, farming some of the oldest (80-110yr old) pre-clonal vines in the country. His holdings center around the village of Lutzmannsburg, where the volcanic soils give the wines a deep core of dark minerality. Farming is organic and winemaking is hands-off: spontaneous fermentations, no fining or filtering, and very small amounts of sulfur. His winemaking is inspired by the great winemakers of France and Italy. Velich himself thinks of his Blaufränkisch as Burgundy, with a touch of the Northern Rhône spice and sinew and the wild florality of Piedmont Nebbiolo.

These are some of the most unique and underappreciated wines in the world. If you are a lover of the classically great reds of the world, be it Barolo or Burgundy, you should take the opportunity to grab some of these.

To order, please click here. As always,you can respond to this email with any questions you may have.

Wines arrive Friday.

1) Weingut Moric Hausmarke Rot 2017 750ml
Sale Price: $26.99/btl!! BUY NOW

A blend of Zweigelt, Pinot Noir, and young-vine Blaufränkisch. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak fermenters; aged for 12 months in large format, neutral oak and stainless steel.
90pts, Wine Advocate: "The Moric Hausmarke is pure yet deep, perfectly ripe and intense on the spicy and floral nose with its ripe black berry aromas. Intense and vital on the palate, this is a refreshing, silky-textured, juicy, coolish red with vital acidity, stimulating grip and good length. This drinks beautifully today, and there is not much of a reason to wait even though you could."

2) Weingut Moric Blaufränkisch Burgenland 2017 750ml
Sale Price $32.99/btl!! BUY NOW

Blaufränkisch vines of eight to fifty years. Fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak fermenters; aged for 12 months in large format, neutral oak and stainless steel.
94pts, Wine & Spirits: "This is Roland Velich’s basic Blaufränkisch, and, at the moment, his most perfectly rendered. A blend of fruit from vines of 8-50 years old in a range of soils across his vineyards in Lutzmannsburg. It’s vinified with ambient yeasts in large-format barrels, essentially giving a wide-angle view of Mittelburgenland. There’s a sense of the sunny warmth of the region in the wine’s ripe blackberry flavors, as well as of the region’s forested hills in its fir-tree details; then it ends with a sense of a refreshing breeze as the acidity sweeps the fruit along. It’s firm yet filigreed, with a granite-like coolness that emanates energy, and should keep the wine fresh over the next decade."

3) Weingut Moric Blaufränkisch Reserve 2015 750ml
Sale Price: $54.99/btl!! BUY NOW

Blaufränkisch vines of fifty to eighty years, grown in the slate soils of Neckenmarkt and the volcanic soils of Lutzmannsburg. Fermented in neutral oak fermenters and aged for 18 months in large format, old oak barrels.
93pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Shows an amazingly pure, ripe, intense and meaty bouquet with slate and lemon flavors underlining the dark cherry and berry aromas. How can a wine be so pure and rich at the same time? Full-bodied and juicy on the palate this is a ripe, sweet and elegant, very well-balanced and finesse-full Blaufränkisch with silky tannins and an intense and aromatic as well as refreshing finish with nutty aromas. This wine is on the edge between the primary fruit phase and the first maturity. It is certainly a great pleasure to drink today, but it should be exciting to follow this stunningly delicate and refined wine over the next eight, maybe ten, years."

4) Weingut Moric Blaufränkisch Alte Reben Lutzmannsburg 2015 750ml
Sale Price: $109.99/btl!! BUY NOW

Eighty to one hundred ten year old Blaufränkisch vines, grown exclusively in Lutzmannsburg's volcanic soils. Fermented in neutral oak fermenters and aged for 18 months in large format, old oak barrels.
96pts, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moric's 2015 Lutzmannsburg Alte Reben is deep, ripe and very concentrated on the nose, with aromas of a basket of dark and red fruits with thick skins, almost like a Port. Lush, ripe and intense on the palate, the 2015 vintage is a generous, full-bodied, intense and concentrated yet elegant, even pure and refined Blaufränkisch with ripe and tender tannins. The finish is salty, fresh and crisp, very aromatic and beautifully floral. The is one of the finest Lutzmannsburg wines I have tasted."