I had dinner with Ales Kristancic last week. He was in town spreading the Movia word, as embodied by his callused paws. Movia is a winery that has been in his family since 1820, making wine in the Goriška Brda region of Slovenia. (If you are unfamiliar, this is a continuation of the Collio zone that straddles the border between Italy and Slovenia.) His wines are unfettered and untouched, 100 percent natural, and the magnum opus of them is called Lunar. It's made with a varietal—ribolla gialla—for which he developed a special fermentation vessel that allows the grapes to ferment within their skins, unbroken, until such a time as they burst, the wine having vinified within each single berry. Kristancic is a force of nature who speaks passionately about what he does and what he believes in. What he does is make wine; what he believes in is a universal life force channeled through his land and vines into the bottle. And in this context, Ales Kristancic is a shaman, a witch doctor, a monk, and a pervert... nothing short of a sick-ass, brilliant maniac. He is brilliant because he has restraint. He has the intuition to leave his ego out of it and allow the wine to come into its own, on its own.
The impetus behind this column isn't necessarily to tell you what wine you should be drinking. It's called Wine Not Wine for a reason. What I want to share with you is more than that, because for me, wine is more than just a pleasurable beverage that you drink as you would drink anything, be it beer, booze, milk, or Kool-Aid. Wine is a vehicle to something else. And sometimes, in the right moment, under the right circumstances, it speaks to you and alters your perception of what exactly you are doing on this planet! (And not simply because you're drunk.) And more than this, more than any other agricultural or human-made product, wine is this unique intersection of the earth from which it comes and the coaxing human hand that urges it into bottle. That is what wine is. And the rough, broken, fat-fingered hand that speaks to this notion belongs to Ales Kristancic. So, yes, I urge you to find his wines and pick some up, because they are beyond wine and they will blow your fucking mind. AND! In the end, it is still wine, pure and simple. Yes, I sell Movia wines at Bar Ferd'nand... how could I not? And you can find them at Pike and Western, and Esquin, too.
Marc Papineau is The Stranger's wine columnist. He is also the owner of Bar Ferd'nand and wine director of the London Plane. He likes wine.