It was a cold and rainy April of 2006 when I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia but I was having a good time. I made a lot of friends when I was there, but Alja, was one friend in particular who enjoyed red wine and that for me is an instant connection. For, even the worst of conversations over a good glass of wine can just be about the flavors and that is something you can talk for hours about.
At any rate, we wandered down to Stara Ulica in the old city of Ljubljana and went to a wine bar there that I had noticed days before but hadn’t ventured in to. It turned out to be a lovely, inviting place to sit out the rain and was rather uncrowded. It also happened that this wine bar was [still is] THE Movia wine bar. I didn’t think anything of it, since the name didn’t sound Slavic and so that must have meant it was some cheesy foreign affair. Oh how wrong I was. As I learned while sitting there with a cab sauv, these Movia wines were some of the finest in Slovenia. While this Cabernet wasn’t what I was used to in California, it was still damned good and complex.
Intrigued, I moved on to a Pinot Noir, or as it is sometimes called, Pinot Nero, but never Crni Pinot for some reason. I believe it must have been the 2000 that I had because of the length of time that they age their wines. It knocked me backwards. It was in one word: amazing. I raved and raved about it only to return back to the US, hungry to find someone who imports this wine, to find that A) there are very few and B) it is rather cost prohibitive to my standard wine budget.
So, after giving up hope of ever tasting this wine in the land of my birth, I was told by a wine importer whom I work for that A Cote in Oakland would be having a slew of Movia wines paired with a five course meal and hosted (or narrated as I found out) by Aleš Kristančič who is part of the family that has been making these wines since 1820. I could ramble on and on about how great the food was, how good the company was (Elia I realize it was a treat to go, but it is an even greater treat to share a meal with someone meaningful) but it was the second course where they poured the 2001 Pinot Noir.
I looked at my glass. Could it be my long-lost wine? I inhaled and did all the stupid snobby things you do when trying to be pretentious, and then I drank. It was as I remembered. The deep flavors swirled around. It had for lack of a better word a great plushness you could love. There was a slight tannic aftertaste to it, but it finished great. Yes, they do a fine job with this wine. But, was it as good as I remember when in Ljubljana? Well, naturally the answer to that is no. When you go from drinking a wine an hour drive from where it is made to drinking it an 11 hour flight from where it is made, things change. And of course, there is the romance of drinking a great wine in Europe in the Old City of a town. Would I drink it again if given the chance? Of course. I find that Movia seems to managed to get a twist to their wines that has a real California element to them. I’m not sure if that is an insult or a compliment, but I mean it lovingly as I love the wines in my home state to no end.