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  • Stefania Gioia

At Radikon, in the Cradle of Orange Wines

Saša Radikon, in the footsteps of his unforgettable father Stanko, keeps celebrating the orange wines, whose savoury taste is unique as this land and its inhabitants.

Located in Oslavia charming hillside, right close to Slovenian border, Radikon is one of the most emblematic wineries in the Collio region. Its 12 hectares spread around on steep slopes made of ponca, a mix of marl and arenaceous rocks that favours the cultivation of grapes. Handled by farmers for about 2 centuries, the estate focused entirely on wine production when Stanislao Radikon, in 1977, took interest in the natural methods.

Stanislao Radikon, aka Stanko

Eliminating pesticides in the vineyard and sulphur dioxide in the cellar, he was able to obtain a stunning product, rich, complex and multifaceted. He also extended macerations for up to 4 months in conical oak vats, followed by aging for 4 years in large casks and more than 2 years in bottle prior to release. Considered a wine artisan or an artist for his innovative approach, Stanko (so he was called by friends) belonged to that small clutch of pioneers that established the guidelines of natural wine’s producers, literally making history.

Sasa Radikon

The son Saša, who grew up watching his father with spontaneous interest, took his place in 2016 with the precious help of his mother Suzana, due to Stanko’s untimely demise. Genetically inclined to the job, Saša didn’t take anything for granted and created his own line - the S line - that was released in 2009 and involved shorter macerations (10-14 days), 18 months of aging in wood and the addition of sulfur just before bottling. According to Saša, there are not shortcuts: “Despite my legacy, I knew I had to start again, walking the path my father did. So I started from light macerations”. A radical approach that doesn’t betray the family’s tradition.

The final outcome, both for light and extremely long macerations, is an extraordinary orange wine: its style knows no compromise. Ribolla Gialla, “Jakot”, Merlot and “Oslavje” are deeply linked to the land’s heritage and at first may be difficult to understand. That is why Saša likes to suggest a gradual approach, starting from his S line - Slatnik and Pinot Grigio, a sort of “entry level” to initiate the tasters who are not familiar with macerated wines.

Natural wines’ market, that’s recently growing in Italy, has already a broad support in U.K., U.S., Canada and Japan. Apparently, Japanese especially appreciate Radikon’s orange wines, that recall the umami’s intensely savoury taste. Furthermore, according to Saša, as a result of Fukushima nuclear disaster they developed an exceptional attention for the environment, preferring food and beverage cultivated and produced with natural methods.

If you are lucky enough to meet the knowledgeable Saša and his mother Suzana, you’ll quickly realize how these people of very few words are as generous as their wines. Because of the steep slopes, their land may be difficult to reach and cultivate, but finally their wine will surprise you with an unconventional flavour that changes with the vintages.

Have a Glass in Venice is happy to include this extraordinary experience into its wine region tour to Collio.

For more info visit: https://www.radikon.it/en/

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