The late Stanko Radikon, a true icon of the renaissance of natural wines and orange wines, once said:
“I sent my son Sasa to get a degree in winemaking so that he’d do exactly what not to do”.
As hyperbolic and paradoxical as this sentence might sound, it points straight to the amber-hued core of Radikon’s heartfelt and visionary philosophy on natural wine. Far from rejecting scientific knowledge, Stanko always believed that it should be used as a tool to better understand the processes involved in making wine.
Radikon's seemingly sudden departure from the then far more lucrative and almost risk-free conventional winemaking came about when, around the early nineties, Stanko began feeling that his wines no longer reflected his spirit and terroir. Stanko found his wines lacking in vibrancy and character, always identical in each vintage and to other wines. In particular, he felt that his Ribolla grapes' rich and complex taste didn't translate in his wines.
Not coincidentally, it was around this time that he and other like-minded vignerons began to coalesce around the figure of Josko Gravner. Stanko, soul-searching, looked back to Friuli-Venezia Giulia's heritage and tradition, hinged as it was on natural viticulture, wild fermentations, long macerations, and no added sulfites. He too found his calling.
The results of this new/old approach blew him away. Stanko was humbled by the soul, complexity, and sheer power of the wines he was now making. Radikon’s wines have come to represent, in the course of the past twenty and more years, all that is vibrantly unique, unspeakably profound, and thrilling about natural wine, especially orange wine.
Radikon's farm, now run by Sasa, is located near the burg of Oslavia, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia's verdant Collio hills, steps away from the Slovenian border. Sasa grows Collio’s indigenous varieties – Ribolla and Friulano – as well as international ones like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Merlot. The soil is the typical “ponka” soil formed by stratified arenaries and marns.
Radikon's wines are unique, brimming with character and complexity. They have acquired a legendary status, and are also known for being incredibly age-worthy. As all true natural wine masterpieces, Radikon's wines are kaleidoscopically evolving from the moment a cork is popped until the very last sip.
photo credits: The Buyer