Haute Wines: Movia, Magical Wine Making Since 1820

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From the Slovenian province of Brda, Aleš Kristancic, eighth generation winemaker of Movia, creates some of the most eccentric, bizarre and outlandish wines in world. So rare, they fascinate, inspire and captivate even the most adventurous and experienced wine connoisseur. The Movia estate, established in 1820, straddles the Italo-Slovenian border, with 20 acres in Italy and 18 in Slovenia. Despite the geopolitical mishmash the area has continuously endured, Movia wines are part Italian, part Slovene, but at the end of the day, they are 100% Kristancic.

Aleš, pronounced A-lesh, has been the driving force behind his winery and its international rise to fame. An explosive combination of winemaking talent, biodynamic fundamentalism and super-sized personality, Movia possesses a cult-like following amongst sommeliers and wine geeks alike. He relishes in taking a distinct perspective in winemaking, believes in growing vines for nature and making wine for the future. According to Ales, wine is an expression of three kingdoms of passion: 1) flora – when plants “make love,” they produce fruit; 2) fauna – yeasts convert sugar to alcohol without human intervention; and 3) humans – good families need to transmit the passion of wine to future generations. This unusual philosophical approach to wine, i.e. life, produces an equally unique style.

Through wisdom handed down generation after generation, Aleš decidedly makes wine “in the vineyard.” He takes rigorous care of his land by passionately practicing biodynamic farming principles. Once in the winery, Aleš minimally manipulates the grapes in order to produce wines that are pure and true.  He does not use commercial yeasts, temperature controls, does not fine or filter his wine either. http://www.domaineselect.com/page_templates/news.cfm?id=246

What is Biodynamic? In its most elementary definition, a biodynamic approach to farming is seen as an ecological connection between the land, its organisms and the cosmos.  The actual farming practices are completely organic; organisms thrive to protect the land from unwanted elements; and only natural fertilizers and tisanes are used to protect the vines. Additionally there is a spiritual connection between the land and the forces of the universe.  If this sounds crazy, it most definitely is, but Aleš, and other great winemakers, deeply ascribes to these beliefs; what goes in the land comes out in the wine and is eventually ingested by us.

This week’s Haute Wines picks praise Aleš Kristancic and his Movia wines for being totally magical and inimitable.

Movia, Lunar, Brda, Slovenia, 2006 – If “crackpot wine” had a definition, this would be it. Aleš’s newest creation involves dumping whole, 65-year old, hand harvested ribolla gialla clusters into a custom made barrique and allowed to gravity press, ferment and age without ever, but once, being touched by the human hand – that being at the time of harvest. The wine is then bottled and allowed to age. The result is a golden, orange, cloudy nectar laden with flowers, bitter orange, incredible texture and complexity – utterly confusing, delightful to drink and wonderfully suited for a big, piping bowl of Braised Rabbit Ragout with Lemon Confit and Truffled Polenta.

Movia, Pinot Nero, Brda, Slovenia, 2004 – Four years in French barrique, does this body good.  100% pinot nero (noir), red and black currants, brambleberries, black cherries and herbs are the initial aromas that hit your nose almost at once, but delve a bit deeper and it almost even smells like a walk in the forest reminiscent of crushed twigs on a day out foraging for mushrooms. Something about the smell and snap of crispy, crackly pig skin from a Roasted Suckling Pig with Potatoes and Mixed Mushrooms paired with this pinot that almost sounds too good to be true.

Ales Decanting Lunar
Ales Decanting Lunar

Please note some wines are very limited in production and therefore difficult to find. If interested in acquiring, visit www.epicuriouschic.com and we can assist in sourcing these wines. Follow me on twitter @epicuriouschic.

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