MOVIA WINERY VISIT IN SLOVENIA
of the top showmen in the wine business is the owner of the Movia winery,
One of the most thoughtful vintners in the scene is Ales Kristancic.
We suspect the winery is named Movia because Kristancic is always on the
The vineyards and winery are located in Slovenia and Italy's Friuli
That tree is in the middle of Movia's vineyard...
Slovenian vines are to the left of the tree, while the vines to the right of the
tree are in Italy.
We've been fans of Movia's Sauvignon Blanc and have tasted some of their
other wines...they're a bit expensive, in our view, but we decided we'd go visit
and see what all the fuss is about.
The "fuss" being that Kristancic is the darling of those who are in
love with "natural" wines.
We're all for "natural" wines, of course, but we prefer the wines to
be well-made and drinkable. Some (not all) of the natural wines we've
tasted have been dirty, spoiled and in the undrinkable category. What's
amusing is to read laudatory articles approving and/or excusing some of these
natural wonders as somehow superior to commercial winery bottlings.
The Movia wines we've tasted have been of interest because they're well-made
and, in the case of the Sauvignon Blanc, really good and full of character.
When guests arrive at our house, we often pop open a bottle of bubbly. It
turns out Kristancic has the same notion! But he makes a sparkling wine
which in all its "naturalness" is not disgorged. That means the
spent yeast following the secondary fermentation is still in the bottle.
We'd run into this sort of wine in France's Gaillac region. And these days
there are producers of Venetian fizzy wine (Prosecco, essentially, or "Glera"
if you want to call it by today's name) who offer bottle-fermented bubbly with a
modest amount of sediment still in the bottles offered to the consumer.
Ales brings out a bottle and it's been kept cork-side down. This allows
all the sediment to sit directly on the cork. Flipping the bottle upright
to open it will only disperse the sediment into the wine, so that's not an
option at this point.
Now, one could probably store the bottles "cork up" and allow the
sediment to settle to the bottom, open it carefully and possibly decant the
bubbly off its deposit, but that would be less showy.
So Kristancic explained how he would go about opening the bottle and it was a
The sediment is resting against the cork, he points out.
He's designed an official Movia Puro Gizmo to open the bottle more easily, but
Kristancic is the only person we know who has one of these stainless steel
The cork is placed into this holder where it fits snugly...
The bottle is then placed in a clear glass bucket filled with water.
And then Ales sets about removing the cork.
As the cork is eased out of the bottle, the carbon dioxide pushes out the
yeast sediment of this Pinot Noir Rose bubbly...
Probably about 20% of the bottle is "lost" in the
opening of the wine.
I can't imagine a sommelier in a restaurant performing this bit of showmanship,
but if you're in Slovenia and want to taste the wine "at the
We found the Puro to be a nice, dry sparkling wine. It was not
brilliantly clear after all this show business, but it's a delightful bubbly.
As good as Champagne?
Well, if Champagne is your reference point, I can't say you'll be overwhelmed by
the character of this wine. On the other hand, the "character"
who makes the wine is pleasantly overwhelming.
As you look out from the lovely deck at Movia on to the
vineyards, you notice each vine and row of vines is positioned with care and
thought towards capturing the maximum sunlight.
We tasted a nice, fresh, complex dry white called "Exto."
This is Kristancic's white wine which is made of the grape formerly known as
It is now, Ex-Tocai or simply Exto.
The 2009 had an amazingly familiar fragrance and we inquired if there are weeds
or plants growing in the vineyard...the aromas are reminiscent of basil and
Ales, if I understood correctly, does have some plants in the vineyard and these
may contribute to the character of the wine.
"Tocai," he explained, "is good on clay or 'fat' soils.
With a natural yeast fermentation you treally get the character of the
The wine spends 2 Springs in big barrels and it's "never cut...that means
we do not filter the wine."
Of course, all this "technical talk" can put some people to sleep.
And not only "some people."
Then it was time to open a bottle of Movia Sauvignon Blanc...
The Sauvignon was delicious, as usual. There's an herbal and weedy,
'green' sort of character to this wine.
We tasted the 2008 vintage.
Ales Kristancic and our good pal John Downing.
We then had a stroll around the winery.
If the weather is poor, they have an indoor tasting area...maybe a bit less
pretty than the outdoor deck overlooking the vineyards, from Slovenia and Italy.
Ales shows off more of his well-manicured vineyards.
The cellars are pristinely clean...
I didn't take a lot of notes at this stage in our visit, but I
was impressed at how much though Kristancic has given to every phase of
winemaking, from the vineyards to the cellar to bottling and beyond.
Of course, either Ales or his wife Vesna had run through the
cellar, lighting all the candles for the "tour."
The Movia cellar features all sorts of cooperage...
Along with the candles and cooperage one finds interesting art
They even have a "blue" room.
Then Ales showed us some unfiltered white wine in magnum...
And this, of course, meant opening the bottle of his
"Lunar" white wine.
This was nearly as entertaining as opening the bottle of Puro
Talk about the "hand of the winemaker" influencing the flavor of the
I'm not sure sommeliers decant in quite the same fashion...
It turns out Kristancic made this particular bottling of
"Lunar" from a really unusual grape variety...
...something called "Chardonnay."
Here's Ales showing off the heavy sediment from the magnum...
Have a sniff, won't you?
A bit more philosophizing...
And one final toast before we had to go...
Cheers, all y'all!
Our visit was a delight and it was a pleasure to meet such a passionate and
The Movia wines tasted great at the source and one can see how people are
seduced by these wines.
My limited experience (and I'll post additional notes here from time to time) is
that some of the wines may be a bit fragile to withstand the rigors of being
sent out into the world.
We opened a bottle of Ribolla 2007 and found the wine to be pleasantly stony and
minerally, along with having a slight nutty, oxidized note on the finish...
We look forward to further Movia "research."
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