In the spring of 2012, we drove 3 hours northeast from the Veneto to visit Stanislov Radikon whose vineyards abut the Slovenian border. After four or five hours and a mind-blowing tasting, we had to excuse ourselves as we had an appointment in Slovenia with Ales Kristancic at Movia for which we were already running late. Stanko asked us if we knew Ales (the owner and winemaker at Movia) and we said no. He thought for a second and then conferred with his son Sasha. “We will take you there,” he said. “Follow us”.
We insisted it was ok and that we would be able to find Movia and that we had had email correspondence with Ales and had drunk plenty of Movia and that it was no big deal. It would be fine we said. Stanislov said it would not and that we should now follow them.
Movia is situated in BRDA, just over the Italian border in Slovenia. The estate had been in existence since 1700 with Ales at the helm for the last few decades. He has an oenology degree from the University of Padua’s Conegliano campus and subsequently worked for Petrus and then Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. He has converted the vineyards to organic/bio and uses no adjuncts in the cellar or the vineyard.
When we arrived at Movia, Stanko and Ales embraced and exchanged a few words. We were acknowledged. Ales took us to his veranda where he promptly opened a magnum of his un-disgorged method champenoise pinot noir called Puro (it must be opened/disgorged underwater and is utterly amazing). Ales and Stanislov chatted in a mix of Italian/Slovenian for half the magnum. Sasha (Stanislov’s son) shot us a smile and a wink. Stanislov excused himself. Pleasantries were exchanged. We were left alone with Ales.
Movia is an estate that covers 32 hectares of which 22 are planted to vine. Monoculture is anathema to good farming, Ales tells us. Hemmingway drank Movia when he drove an ambulance there in WWII, he tells us. The cellars are cut into the bedrock and extend for hundreds of meters under the winery. As we walk through the cave we pass a scale, naked and crucified ‘female Jesus’ painted on a wall. Ales does not pause to explain.
Ales speaks fluent Italian, Slovenian, English and some broken language called Ales. He is the craziest human we’ve ever met with the clearest philosophies we’ve ever heard. We tour the vineyards. They are alive and teeming with restrained vigour. We eat salad greens from between the rows. The vines are flowering, Ales calls it ‘sexy time’.
The wines of Movia make us feel funny. Like drug-induced funny. Almost euphoric. They are alive and riotous while at the same time detailed and just plain delicious. They are not hard to like yet they are difficult to fully understand.
All of the above aside the wines of Movia are real, beautifully grown and expertly made. Ales may be crazy but his vision is excruciatingly clear. He has given the land back to itself and in return, he has been given some of the best raw material we have seen anywhere.