Radikon Merlot 2004 500ml
This is the only wine that sees small oak (but of course it’s old, neutral barriques just to allow a little more micro oxygenation to soften the tannins). Aside from that it’s business as usual – a couple of months on skins then a lengthy rest in bottle.
When it comes to ‘Orange wines’ Radikon is at the very top of the tree. To be perfectly honest there seems to be a lot of crap skin contact wines out there capitalising on the current fad. One of the big issues is time – many producers are releasing orange wines too early in my opinion. With Radikon a lengthy spell in barrel and bottle softens & integrates the tannin/phenolics. The fruit still shines through. I can’t speak highly enough of these wines. Very limited – let us know what you would like and we’ll do our best. Rob McLean, FWC.
Stanko’s courageous decision in the 1990s to change the direction of his estate and focus on extended skin contact and no additions is a point of reference for winemakers all over the world. Along with his neighbour Josko Gravner, Stanko is largely responsible for the interest in ‘orange’ or amber wines which is still reverberating today. The wines produced by the late Stanislao (Stanko) Radikon and his son Sasa have inspired a devoted following of winemakers, critics and consumers from all parts of the globe. The father and son team seek to produce wine that is wholly natural, without compromise. During his 36 vintages of Radikon, Stanko has refused to commit himself to any singular winemaking style, but has instead adopted a winemaking methodology which echoes the Friulian wines made before the 1930s: extended maceration periods, the use of large oak barrels, and manual harvesting. The approach rejects the use of chemical pesticides, temperature-controlled fermentation and sulfur. As a result the wines of Radikon are seriously age worthy, the long maceration protecting the wine and allowing it to age, creating wines that are in Stanko’s words ‘totally genuine.’ The Radikon vineyards are set on a hillside in Oslavia between the town of Gorizia and the Slovenian border, facing South and South-east, bordered by the Julian Alps to the north, and the Adriatic sea to the South. The estate was founded by Stanko’s grandfather Franz Mikulus, who planted the estate solely to Ribolla Gialla. Stanko’s parents then added Merlot, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Grigio. Stanko commenced managing the estate in 1980 working closely with his son Sasa and his wife Suzana, and like his grandfather, believes Ribolla Gialla to most profoundly articulate terroir. The vertiginous vineyards are planted closely in heavy clay and shale and managed entirely by hand, with treatments of manure, copper, sulphur and propolis (beeswax) to combat powdery mildew. In 1995 Stanko began a slow return to the winemaking style of his grandfather, focusing on extended skin contact - initially for 7 days and now for 3 months - combined with extended bottle and barrel aging. At the same time he also began avoiding all chemicals, experimenting with sulphur free wines in 1999 and producing his first vintage without the use of sulphur in 2002.