Hidden Treasures by Moric
Hidden Treasures is a collaboration between Roland Velich of Moric winery and several young winemakers located in the Pannonian Basin.
The Pannonian basin stretches from Austria across Hungary and into Slovenia and Croatia but for the purposes of this project, the focus is Burgenland and Hungary. Historically and culturally Burgenland, where Roland is located, aligns more with Hungary than Austria. Roland started this project to showcase the talented winemaking of some lesser-known but extraordinarily talented winemakers as well as the significance and range of these important and ancient growing regions which have been cut off from much of the world until recently. Each release is numbered and made by a different winemaker.
Roland’s first partnership was in Hungary with Attila Homonna of Tokaj and his magnificent Furmint. Attila began his small 3 hectare winery in1999. He organically farms some of the best sites of old vine, old clone Furmint and Hárslevelü around the villages of Erdobenye and Olasziszka. His wines came to the attention of Roland and Hidden Treasures project No.1 was born. The aim? So that more people might get to experience the rare, dry, elegant wines Attila crafts so meticulously.
Roland then went on to partner with another one of his favorite Hungarian winemakers from a different yet ancient wine growing region, Somló, Hungary. Tamas Kis works with Hárslevelü, Furmint, and Welschriesling from the volcanic soils of Somló and was pronounced one of Hungary's best young winemakers. Tamas farms his small estate organically working with old vines grown in the basalt rich, black soils of this famous hill, Hungary’s smallest wine growing appellation.
The third partnership in Hungary comes from Roland and Philipp Oser of Villa Tolnay. Philip Oser originates from Switzerland and started Villa Tolnay on Lake Balaton in 2004. Here he grows Riesling and Furmint in the basalt soils of the northern part of the lake. Their vineyards stretch up Csobánc hill, the remains of a magnificent volcanic mountain surrounded by the sedimentary deposits of the former Pannonian Sea. The distinct minerality these soils impart make the Lake Balaton region a very special place to make wine.
In Austria, Roland has partnered with several rising star young winemakers as well.
With Hidden Treasures NR4 Blaufrankisch Deutsch-Schuetzen 2017 Moric partners with Christoph Wachter of Weingut Wachter-Wiesler. Christoph is a young winemaker from Südburgenland who began running his family’s winery at just 20 years old. He focuses on pure expressions of Blaufränkisch, working with old vines, organic farming and biodynamic preparations to demonstrate the distinct terroir of the famed green schist soils of the Eisenberg hill and the dark loam soils of the neighboring village Deutsch-Schuetzen. The Eisenberg DAC is the smallest and most 'untouched' wine region of Austria and has become one of the country's most renowned wine regions. In 2014 Christoph was recognized as 'Newcomer of the Year’ by der Feinschmecker, the most important wine magazine in the German language.
Hidden Treasures NR5 Neckenmarkt comes from Stephan Wellanschitz of Kolfok winery. Stephan’s Blaufränkisch vines are 55 year old, thick skinned, old clones grown on steep terraced vineyards in a cool location. These are some of the highest vineyards in Burgenland located on the Hungarian border in Neckenmarkt. These are the last foothills of the Eastern Alps with unique soil composition varying from mica schist to orthogneiss and shell limestone. Stephan took over an existing winery in 2015 and spent the last years converting to organic viticulture, restoring the old vineyards, always working in tandem with gravity and nature. Grapes are hand picked, only native yeasts are used, no additions are made to the wine and it is raised in old large oak barrels, all resulting in a pure expression of Neckenmarkt and Blaufränkisch.
Hannes Schuster of Rosi Schuster, son of one of Roland's dear friends, makes a pure expression of Blaufrankisch from 40-50 year old vines from 2 estate vineyards in the village of Sankt Margarethen for Hidden Treasures NR6. Just a few miles west of the great shallow lake called the Neusiedlersee (literally, the new settler lake) is the town of St. Margarethen and the Schuster winery with some of the finest and oldest vineyards of the area. Hannes' wines always showcase bright fruit and beautiful texture. The vineyards have been organically certified since 2014.
Husband and wife winemaking team, Lichtenberger - Gonzalez, have made an entirely different expression of Blaufrankisch, fermented naturally from vines grown on limestone and slate for Hidden Treasures NR7 Breitenbrunn. Their old vines and minimal intervention winemaking result in a high toned, aromatic expression of this native grape grown between the Leithaberg Mountains and Lake Neusiedlersee in the town of Breitenbrunn. Neutral oak, native yeast, no fining or filtering and minimal sulphur. A harmonious rendition of ancient craft, nature and terroir.
All of the Hidden Treasures wines shine independently but work together to show a more complete and nuanced picture of these two beautiful, ancient wine-growing regions, culturally aligned, and undergoing a rebirth in the hands of these extraordinary young winemakers.