Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Praise of Movia

I just polished off a bottle of Movia's Lunar 2005 and was reminded how much I like this maker's wines. They are pungent, mineral-laden, rich and full of character. Oh, and did I mention I'm talking about the whites?

Movia is a Slovenian winemaker that has been in business since 1820, but which in the past 10 or 20 years has raced to the forefront of the winemaking revolution in and around the Friuli region in northeast Italy. (Yes, Movia is strictly speaking across the border in neighboring Italy, but it possesses vineyards in Italy and is almost always grouped with the Italian makers of Collio. The wines are even carried at Italian Wine Merchants.) Winemaker Ales Kristancic keeps it natural and biodynamic. He leaves his whites on the lees for two years inside small Slovenian oak casks, and never racks the wines. The result is wines so dark and rangy and of the soil that casual wine drinkers don't even recognize them as white wines.

But they are wonderful wines. The Ribolla Gialla has a superb minerality and chalkiness. The Lunar, which is also made from Ribolla and is not filtered or tainted with chemicals, was so potent it shared characteristics with cider (the color) and beer (more than a hint of hops on the nose and palate). It is a ripe wine is ways other the fruity, which is what we tend to think of when we hear the word ripe.

I wonder sometimes why Movia wines are not more popular than they are. They're easy enough to find, at least in New York. It could be the price. They start around $25 or so. Perhaps the unusual grape varietals put people off. Or the fact that it comes from Slovenia, which must sound like a joke to some folks. Then again, the wines are so unusual there's no telling if the masses would take to them if they did try them. Americans have progressed a lot over the past 10 years, but they still don't seem ready for the the steely, mineral Friuli wines. Ah well. More for me.

No comments: