In 1995, Italian winemaker Stanko Radikon had the radical idea to make his Ribolla Gialla the way his grandfather did – macerating the white grapes with their skins during fermentation – more like a red wine than a white. The result was an ‘Orange’ wine, halfway in between a red and a white. While orange wines are gaining popularity these days, 20 years ago returning to the old methods was considered crazy and iconoclastic. Stanko was so taken by the results that he extended the maceration times to 3 or 4 weeks, and expanded the technique to cover all his white grapes – Ribolla Gialla, Friulano, and Pinot Grigio.
The 2014 Radikon Pinot Grigio will come as quite a shock if you’re expecting the easy drinking white that has captured a spot on every restaurant wine list. Pouring a hazy orange into the glass, this wine explodes aromatically with apricot, hay, lemon, orange, cherry, and brings much more weight and structure in the mouth than a white wine that has been fermented separately from the skins. Enjoy this a little warmer than fridge temperature, and pair with roast chicken, hearty fish dishes, or just an evening’s contemplation. This wine is dynamic in the glass, changing and revealing new aromas and flavors as the night goes on.
Sadly, Stanko passed away this year, but the estate will carry on in the hands of his son, Saša Radikon, who has been involved in production for the last decade.