Slatnik, Radikon

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Regarded as one of the pioneers of modern ‘orange’ winemaking, Stanko Radikon started making white wine ‘the old way’ in 1995. He had been working in a more modern style – white wine, with filtration, fining, modern technology and new oak – until he started to play around with maceration together with a group of winemakers from eastern Italy/Slovenia in the early 1990s. Stanko sadly passed away in 2016, but his son, Saša, is at the helm today and is heavily inspired by his father’s winemaking ethos and style. Saša refers to his father’s pioneering notoriety, referencing similarly legendary Josko Gravner, by saying: “There was one other winemaker in the region making wine like this [long macerated orange wine], which dad was always pleased about because it’s the difference between being considered as ‘the crazy guy’ or leading a new movement!”. Saša is working 18 hectares of vineyards, very close to the Slovenian border, with natural methods in both the vineyards and cellar. They have two lines – the ‘S’ line and the ‘Blue Leaf’. ‘S’ is an introduction to their style, with 1-2 weeks of maceration, creating younger wines that need less ageing; ‘Blue Leaf’ are single varietal and macerated between 2-4 months on the skins, creating deeply and richly flavoured wines that benefit from both old oak and cellar ageing released approximately 5 years after harvest. These are some of the most interesting, quintessential and sought-after orange wines in the world.

Slatnik, from the ‘S’ range, is a blend of around 80% Chardonnay and 20% Tocai Friulano planted on marl and sandstone soils (Ponca terroir – classic for the region). The grapes are macerated between 8 and 14 days, in large oak vats that are also used for fermentation, before ageing together a mix of 25 and 35 hectolitre old Slovenian oak casks for 18 months. It is then aged two months in bottle before release after bottling unfined, unfiltered and with very minimal amount of added sulphur. It is, as Saša says, “an introduction to orange wine” that is aromatic, spicy and delicious.