Wine of the Week: Movia’s Veliko Belo

Slovenian Flag

This week’s wine of the week is from Movia, a classic Slovenian winery that has a true cult following in the United States. Slovenia is on my mind after I read an article in the Travel section of the New York Times this week that renewed my interest in visiting this country that borders with Italy.

Despite Slovenia’s close proximity to Italy, especially Trieste and Friuli Venezia Giulia, I never made it there for a visit during my years in Il bel paese. If one can’t visit a country, I firmly believe that sipping their wines and learning about them is a good interim substitute until the occasion presents itself.

This wine from Movia, imported by Domaine Select, is a blend of Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon, and Pinot Gris, in varying percentages. The average age of the vines is 41 years and the grapes are late harvested. Secondary fermentation takes place in barriques with no racking or sulphur added. The wine then spends three years in oak barrels before being released into the market.

The Movia estate has about 22 hectares and dates back to the 1700s. The Kristančič family which owns the estate inherited it through a wedding in 1820. About half of the estate is on the Italian side of the Goriška Brda (Collio). Everyone is enamored of the winemaker on this estate, Ales, who is often seen in photos standing on his barrels using a wine thief to taste wine. Here he is in a more relaxed pose.

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I have not had the pleasure of meeting Ales but I have tasted a number of his wines and they are all interesting, different and memorable. I particularly like the minerality and the acidity in his wines which I imagine comes from the soils (marl) and climate (Mediterranean) as well as his wine making techniques. Likely a combination of all three, if you want to taste a wine from Slovenia, Movia is a great place to begin and to end up as well.

This particular wine reminded me of another wine I know well from the Italian side of the border from Lis Neris, Confini. Both are complicated wines that pair with a number of foods and occasions. I think we don’t see enough of these white blends in the United States but maybe that will change.

One comment

  1. Susannah: I was happy to see this post because it’s a great primer on Slovenian wines and because I saw Ales this week at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, where he kept interrupting (in a fun way) a seminar by Anthony Giglio. He’s very talented and I’m learning about his wines. Hope you are doing well, in every way.
    My best. Dave

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