Radikon, made in the far-east of Venezia-Giulia, the Oslavje has to been tasted to be believed. It pioneered the movement towards both natural and orange wines. Everything about it is unique, from the bottle to the production method to the taste – it is truly an experience all wine-lovers should have. When the late Stanko Radikon began his stewardship of the 12 hectares of vineyards, which are located near the Slovenian border, he came to the conclusion that the local indigenous grape, Ribolla Gialla, needed to be treated differently to other varieties if it was to reach its full potential. So, he set about changing his methods.
It was in 1995 that Radikon began using his grandfather’s method of vinification, which involved seven days of skin maceration and led to more colour and flavour making its way into the wine. After some refinement of the technique, today’s wines have three months of maceration, along with long periods of barrel and bottle ageing. Radikon also discovered that this long-term maceration led to a more robust wine, which also meant that by 2003 he was able to cut out the use of sulphites entirely. The specially designed bottles, introduced in 2002, also use high-quality corks that avoid cork-tainted wine. The grape selection process and low yields mean that only the very best berries are used. In a good vintage, it is usual for a whole vine to go into a single bottle. The result is unusual orange and red wines with astronomical complexity, high ageing potential and deep, wild, flavours. Now run by Saša Radikon, who worked with his father for the past decade, the Radikon name continues to hold its high esteem. “If you have good grapes you can make something special,” said Saša. “If you have bad grapes you can only make bad wines.” The grapes for the Oslavje are hand-harvested, the maceration of the skin with the juice lasts for 2/4 months in oak vats. The wine is then matured for 4 years in 25/35hl casks. Bottles are then aged for 2 years before being released. No added sulphur.
The Radikon Oslavje in a one-litre magnum is a very special wine with a great character. It’s macerated on the skins for three months and has a warm amber colour with coppery tints. The nose highlights fruity, intense and persistent aromas of apple, peach, dried fruit and spices. On the palate, it shows good freshness and good salinity. It’s persistent and spicy with a fabulous length.