Aleš Kristančič and the Movia Estate in Goriška Brda

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Aleš Kristančič’s Movia Estate in Goriška Brda – which itself lies in western Slovenia and northeastern Italy – offers a range of award-winning wines, including from autochthonous varieties such as Rebula.

Aleš Kristančič – described by Wine Spectator as the “wild and crazy guy of Slovenian wine” – is Slovenia’s best well-known and most talked about winemaker. His Movia estate in Goriška Brda – in western Slovenia (ZGP Brda) and northeastern Italy (DOC Collio) – has been owned by the Kristančič family since 1820.

A 2009 Wine Spectator article, entitled ‘The Magician of Movia’, describes how:

“When Communists led by Josip Broz Tito took power in Yugoslavia after World War II, Movia was the only winery in Slovenia that remained privately owned, thanks to Kristančič’s grandfather Anton, a commandant in Tito’s partisan resistance against the Fascists during the war. But Tito required that Movia be the official winery of the state, meaning that it could only sell to the government, and not under the Movia label but as Kristančič wine. (The government sold some of the wine but kept most of it.

According to Kristančič, Tito, a notorious hedonist, kept some 40,000 bottles for himself.) “My grandfather said that the most important thing was to carry on the tradition,” Kristančič says. It wasn’t until 1988, as the Yugoslav government became more open prior to its dissolution, that the Movia brand returned.”

Today, the Movia Estate – which has existed since 1700 – offers a range of award-winning wines, from both autochthonous and international varieties. Vila Marija Belo, for instance, is a blend of 30% Sivi Pinot, 30% Sauvignon and 40% Rebula, made from grapes grown on young vines (with an average age of 25), following by an eight month maturation process, during which:

“the wines are left on the lees, stimulating not only regular alcoholic fermentation but also biological deacidification, a process whereby sharp acids (usually malic acids) are transformed into softer, smoother lactic acids. This leads to a certain loss of aroma, particularly the simpler aromas, but is offset by developing greater body and in part more complex aromas.

The name ‘Rebula’ (or ‘Ribolla’ in Italy from the word ‘ribollire’, which means to ‘re-boil’) derives from the fact that the Bora wind would cool the cellars sufficiently to stall fermentation; only for the process to be ‘re-boiled’ once Spring arrived. It has been cultivated in this part of Slovenia since at least the 13th century, giving wines that a light bodied, with pronounced acidity, floral and aromatic aromas, with peach and citrus notes.

The 14th century Italian poet, Giovanni Boccaccio, described over indulgence in Ribolla as a sin of gluttony; a fitting reason if ever one was needed to sample Aleš Kristančič’s Rebula from the Movia Estate.

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