The wines of Stanko Radikon for me conjure up images of a seascape….there is mood and movement, sometimes tempestuous and flecked with white-caps, at other times be-stilled and calm with an almost oil-like sheen. Take your time in their consumption and they evolve bewitchingly over a period of days, heady, starkly detailed and electric at first they morph into an infinitely complex beast, come back a couple of days later you’ll ride a sleek-barrelled swell before a storm, enormous and powerful flecked with the spume of heady spice and resounding energy…..it’s quite a ride.
I don’t know what’s in the water around Oslavia, in the hills just North of the border town of Gorizia in the Isonzo zone of Friuli but the brothers in the region should keep quenching their thirst – Radikon, Gravner, Kante – all within a stones throw from each other and all producing captivating, world-class wines from the region.
Stanko farms 11 hectares in the region, the vines originally planted by his Grandfather Franz Mikulus the the local variety Ribolla Gialla. After inheriting the farm in 1948, Stanko’s parents planted it with Merlot, Tocai Friulano and Pinot Grigio and today the property is run by Stanko, his wife Susana and his son Sasa. The vines are close planted at between 6000 and 10000 plants per hectare and all farming is carried out according to organic principle.
They actually applied for certification once but the official commented that he didn’t need to see the cellar also adding that once certified they didn’t really need to audit the winery in the future…..they decided to pass on the certification. They pressed on with organic methods in the vineyard regardless…it is just what they want to do. To produce wines in the fashion that Radikon do, with minimal SO2 the fruit coming into the cellar has to be in tip-top condition….that is all the incentive needed.
Extended skin contact is the leitmotif at Radikon – around 35 days for the reds and between six to eight months for the whites. The grapes are hand-harvested, de-stemmed and macerated before pressing gently in a pneumatic press. All vinification takes place in Slavonian oak…..initially in large open vats before elevage in large format oak for around three years until release.
And 500mL bottles?…..Stanko believes that this is the perfect size for two people to share over dinner so you will find the Radikon wines bottled either in 500mL or one litre formats. Closures for the wine came about after discussions with a cork producer to ensure the optimum surface-t0-air permeability ratio for the wines aging…..sexy, skinny little mofo’s they are.
2009 Radikon “S” Pinot Grigio
To be honest, this was probably my least favoured of the three wines though I still enjoyed it a great deal. A mere two weeks of maceration on skins, aged in large format, seasoned Slovanian oak for one year before bottling without fining or filtration.
Raspberry red in colour with inviting aromas of strawberry, redcurrant, raspberry and red-fruit compote. There are hints of cinnamon, herbs, dried orange peel and a sort of light “Fishermans Friend” cough lolly edge to the wines aromas.
Structured and savoury with a crackling energy like an incoming stormfront…..heady red-fruited flavours vie with spice, rosemary, thyme and citrus bursts. Fairly weighty in the mouth with sweet tannin and considerable phenolic grip. There is a positively charged vibrancy to the acid line as it drives to the finish…..a wine that absolutely screams out for food. 13.5% – $100 1L
2005 Radikon Ribolla Gialla
Hazy orange in hue like apricot nectar with a firm but attractive lifted edge of volatility to the wines aromas. Striking aromas of stone-fruits….musky peach with flashes of pear, quince, redcurrant, apricot kernel and orange zest interlaced with heady souk-like spice and a light caramel, brown-sugary sheen.
Crackling with a savoury, mineral-laden line…..energetic from its palate entry through to the sustained finish. It’s weighty and textured with plenty of sweet tannin and grippy phenolic bluster…..linear & dense but with a buoyancy that captivates and delights in equal measure. Again, flavours of stone-fruits and citrus with red-fruited lift….sensual souk spice, dried citrus peel and an almost ferrous nod. Savoury and long, once again screaming out for food. 12.85% – $130 1L
2004 Radikon Jakot
Produced from 100% Tocai Friulano, long macerations on the skins, no temperature control, native yeasts, etc.
Hazy apricot nectar orange in hue with heady aromas of honeydew melon, guava, dried citrus peel, iron, jasmine, herbs and stone. Once more those sexy souk-like spices rear their heads beckoning you forward into the glass.
A little more delineation on the palate than the Ribolla……detailed and laser like with a striking line of crackling acidity. Structurally it’s got a case of the Thom Yorkes…..it speaks in math, it buzzes like a fridge….it’s like a detuned radio. Flavours of melon, citrus and guava assault the senses with a double espresso like intensity. Studded with souk spice, pine resin and white flowers, cut with shafts of minerally acidity like lightning bolts. A singularity of flavour and texture though strangely weightless it drives across the palate with verve and intent. Beautiful wine…..quite feminine, textured and awash with sweet tannin…..a cracker. 13.65% – $150 1L