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Weekly Weird & Wonderful Wines

Week 5 - Moric Blaufränkisch 2012

Welcome to the latest instalment of Weekly Weird & Wonderful Wines.
This week we are heading into the mountains to study the alpine red wine variety that is Blaufränkisch. This grape is little known outside Central Europe and this example is coming from the Burgenland region in Eastern Austria.

Presenting this weeks wine:

Moric Blaufränkisch 2012

Category: Vino Incognitus

Wine makeup: 100% Blaufränkisch

Origins: The first documented appearance of Blaufränkisch under this name was not seen until 1862 during a viticultural exposition in Vienna, Austria. The grapes origins are likely to go back far beyond this however, as during this period of time, many grapes from the Franconia (Franken) area of Germany were highly praised and were given the suffix - fränkisch to distinguish them apart from the less valuable Hunnic grapes of the era.

Through modern ampelography (the study of grapevines), we have now been able to trace this grape's historical path, from Franconia, through Austria,Hungary, Dalmatia and now even beyond.
DNA Analysis has helped connect many different synonyms and related names together, allowing us to better understood this medieval grape variety.
One of the parents of Blaufränkisch is Gouais Blanc, an ancient grape variety associated with peasantry, and a parent of many other noble grape varieties across Europe.  

Region: Burgenland is a region in Eastern Austria which for centuries has produced much of the finest wine in Central Europe. Moric Blaufränkisch comes from the Mittelburgenland sub-region where this grape variety easily rules the roost.
Blaufränkisch helped revitalise the area during the late 1970's and early 1980's, using the late-ripening nature of the grape to compliment the continental warmth found in this region near the border of Hungary.
In fact this area is significantly sheltered on almost all sides by hills and mountains including the Sopron Mountains to the North, the Koszeg Mountains to the South and is also effected by dry, warm winds that blow in from the Pannonian Plains to the East.
To the West of Mittelburgenland you have the Buckligen Welt an incredibly hilly region nicknamed " Land of 1000 hills", and this final shelter, combined with the other influences, creates the perfect climate for the modern heartland of Austrian red wine production.

Producer: Weingut Moric (pronounced like "Moritz") is the brainchild of Austrian winemaker Roland Velich who makes his wine from 10-50 year old vines around the Mittelburgenland villages of Lutzmannsburg and Neckenmarkt. 
According to several interviews, Velich is trying to bring back the culture and romance of wine, especially singular, motivating experiences that can only be produced from a unique growing environment.
 

Typical Mittelburgenland vineyard landscape.

Typical Mittelburgenland vineyard landscape.

Tasting:

Blaufränkisch is an interesting grape variety to focus on in Austria, a country that is more often known for it's crisp and refreshing whites.
The most interesting styles of Blaufränkisch, such as this one from Moric, bring about a unique character of their own, which show off the medium body and sizzling tannin underbelly that this grape is capable of.

The example I tasted from 2012 managed to achieve all this and more, with a bright purple hue, becoming a lighter crimson towards the edges of the glass.
Aromas of sweet, lifted spice mixed with blackberry, violet floral notes and a subtle undertone of wood smoke.
The body, as promised is of a lighter-medium weight and the palate has a decent punch for this category, featuring dark cherry flavours with decent tannic structure, leading to a smooth and well balanced finish.

Weingut Moric has produced a fantastic Blaufränkisch here and the 2012 appears to be a standout year. To try more wine from Roland Velich and to find your nearest stockist head to Weingut Moric

Thanks for reading this week's edition of Weekly Weird & Wonderful Wines! Join us again next week for more delicious, quirky wines!