September 10, 2010 Movia
Movia Vila Marija
This is my first wine from Slovenia, and for those familiar with wines from that part of the world it is likely not a surprise that it is made by Movia, the best known winery in the country. Slovenian wines are not easy to come by, at least not in Canada. Even the bottle of Movia I was able to purchase is what some would call its ‘second tier’ wine. It’s not among the winery’s most highly touted, yet it bears the Movia label, and reading what I have about Movia’s headman Ales Kristancic, I’m thinking he would not release a wine that wouldn’t do the winery proud. Besides, it is worthwhile to see if a winery can shine in the lower ranks as well as in the better known upper ones.
Movia Vila Marija 2007
Wedged here between Dragon’s Breath Blue cheese from Nova Scotia and spicy Gordal olives from Spain, Movia’s Vila Marija merlot looks as if it will need to be assertive. Although it doesn’t charge out of the glass, it does fill it with aromas of old world dark fruit, suggesting its power is in reserve. A velvet fist perhaps? True enough, while remaining fresh and clear-headed. Spiced blackberries grown in old loam, slightly tangy. Smooth, lush, and lively. More-ish. Slovenian wine has a convert. $
Wine knows no borders. A statement never more truthful than in the case of Movia. Of its 18 hectares, 10 are in the Brda province of Slovenia, while 8 are found in the Collio region of Italy’s Friuli appellation. ALES KRISTANCIC, a member of the eighth generation of the Kristancic family to make wine here, thinks of it all as Collio. After all, since his ancestors began Movia in 1820, borders have shifted several times, the grapes continuing to ripen, oblivious to political upheaval.
A winemaker here would do well to be a philosopher. Ales Kristancic is that, as well as a showman, a risk taker, a vineyard dynamo, a passionate believer in biodynamics, and a bass guitar player. A bit of a rock star in the wine world, and by all accounts, a charmer.
The man understands his vineyards. He understands his work of winemaking. He has to, operating as he does without dependency on technology to groom his wines. But, much more than that, he is willing (and eager) to experiment, to set his wines apart, to bring forth interesting qualities not found in the wines of other domaines. His winemaking has been described as “like a trapeze act without a safety net.” Recently a panel of the world’s top wine journalists chose Kristancic as one of the 12 foremost wine creators in the world.
Vila Marija is among the simplest of the Movia range. It is a start. I am eager to move on, to seek out the results that come from some of his more experimental forays into winemaking. If and when I find one, I’ll be sure to add it to this entry.