TN: Radikon Ribolla '18....(short/boring)

This wine showed up on the shelf this weekend, so had to try it:

  1. Radikon Ribolla IGT: Venezia Giulia (11.5%; 90 days skin-maceration in large botti; LouisDresnerSlctn) Radikon/Oslavia/Goriza 2018: Deep golden/bit burnished bronze slightly hazy color; very strong phenolic/ViniMacerati/resiny very slight white pepper/RG somewhat earthy/very dusty some alcoholic/volatile/fumey classic Radikon RG nose; quite tart/tangy/very metallic austere very strong VM/very resinous/phenolic rather savory slight RG/white pepper rather tannic/very phenolicflavor w/ some hard tannins;long austere/phenolic finish that follows the flavor; a strongly austere/phenolic classic Radikon RG character that is totally dominated by the VM charater; needs much age like 5-15 yrs but should be a good one; way too young and profoundly unpleasant on the palate; quite metallic & bit oxidative in the finish; not a pleasant wine to taste or drink.; typically Radikon overpriced at $50.00/500 ml (SFW&S)

More gorligrab from TeBloodyPulpit:

  1. Radikon is regarded as one of the great Ribolla/orange wine producer. I have little doubt that this will be a great Radikon w/ 5-15 yrs of age. But at this point in its life, it is pretty unpleasant to drink or taste. I can think of no food matches that would make this a pleasant wine to drink right now, unless it would totally beat the wine into blandness.
    If I were a novice wine drinker who bought this wine on the Radikon reputatio, I would, after tasting it, feel compelled to return it to the retailer. Most retailers would not know enough to advise you that this wine badly needs age. Though I have one retailer who would blithely dismiss my complaint with “this is the way it’s supposed to taste”. But you have to have experience w/ wine like this to understand that it will probably be a great wine w/ much age. But painful to drink right now.
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I haven’t had his wines in 10 or 15 years. I used to rep them about 20 years ago. It’s possible they’ve changed but I’ve always thought they are better when fairly young and I love aged wines when they are able to go the distance without falling apart.

Do you have an archetypal note or cellartracker ref for what a good “too tannic/VM when young” wine tastes like after time?

I tried their lineup at an importer tasting over a decade ago. They ranged from pleasant to someone tried to make wine in a bucket in their garage on a lark. One of my friends gave an ‘iew’ face and stopped after two. A true Emperor’s new clothes experience. Some of the prices those were fetching from the NY crowd back in the day made my eyes bug out. All that made the success of the “natural wine” movement all the less surprising to me.

I have several bottles of '13 Pinot Grigio (now ‘Silvi’) traded from someone kept the bottles in climate controlled storage since purchase.

Whatever that wine was like young, right now it’s at its apogee. The first bottle tasted from this group a few months ago was incredible.

  • 2013 Radikon Pinot Grigio - Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Venezia Giulia IGT (1/11/2024)
    Fresh mineral aromas, not especially oxidative and remarkably fresh with exceptional acidity to balance the tart but juicy mid weight flavors.. something like pomegranate but lighter, fennel type of herbal note. At some point in evolution the palate screams strawberries. A true delight at peak maturity from correct storage. Better warm weather bottle and also with food likely..

Posted from CellarTracker


I had a 2003 Oslavje in 2020 and thought it was great. My one time trying Radikon. I really enjoyed it but it’s weird wild stuff and can certainly understand someone not liking it. My too long tasting note below:
“This wine is a wild ride, but a worthwhile one if you are into unique or unusual wine experiences. Short review- this wine is super cool and highly recommended. Longer version below:

It starts off weird even with the bottle’s unusual 500mL size. It pours a crazy looking Arnold Palmer color- see photo of the wine in a narrow carafe. There is a decent amount of sediment, which I stupidly did not anticipate. Because of the extended skin contact, this wine should be handled like an older RED wine, i.e. handle carefully after letting it settle and decant off the sediment. I was not careful and ended up having to filter the bottle through a cheesecloth and I made a mess of my kitchen counter.

One whiff told me this wine is still incredibly alive! It practically jumped out of the glass and popped me right in the nose with incredible rich citrusy aromas. This is full of both bright fresh citrus of lemonade, Tang(!), orange zest, and warm darker citrus of baked orange glaze with cloves, and those brandied grapefruits hot out of the oven on Christmas morning covered in molted brown sugar. The minerality is slate and pulverized rocks, not soil or earth. There is an indefinable aroma that I can only describe as snow- that pure, crisp, cool smell that gives a sense of cold weather and high altitude. Nose is A++.

Palate is fantastic though doesn’t quite live up to the nose. There are the same wonderful fresh balanced with warm citrus notes. Key lime pie with graham cracker crust, unfiltered orange juice. The texture is a bit chewy but not viscous. Unfortunately, the acids are a bit harsh, turning a touch towards acetic, and there is just a touch of that indefinable too-old-wine character creeping in.

Tasted great right out of the bottle, and continued to deepen with a similar profile over many hours in the decanter. Overall, a wine of depth/broadness, rather than focus or detail. Really a nice experience and recommended.”

Many years ago a somm friend recommended that I try Radikon’s Ribolla Gialla so I could understand that a wine can be great without being like everything else. She was reminding me that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as my Grandma used to say, and I still appreciate that to this day.

The wine was fairly oxidative and tannic, but as it sat in the glass it shifted and moved so much. It was always reminiscent of tea in the finish with the skin contact delivering savory and distinct tannins. But the aromatics were magical, and I enjoy tea quite a bit. It was a really lovely wine, and formative for me though still not something I would lean into making.

I’ve had Radikon quite a few times over the years and typically feel the RG is the varietal that thrives most with the house style, but there’s a good bit of variation.


I wish you didn’t add ‘boring’ in your titles, because i find your notes just fine.

In terms of the Radikon wines, or really any of these friulian macerated wines, i find them to be vintage by vintage a russian roulette of germs in the production. Some vintages can be so beautiful and some can be so messy. As Marcus writes, just a beautiful tea that moves back and forward. And i agree, RG is the main grape for this purpose it seems.

I have to say that i never buy them(radikon) anymore because of the inconsistency, and if anything I prefer Vodopivec, Gravner or Damijan Podversic.

I think you have to make a difference whether you are drinking wines made by Stanko or Saša Radikon.

While similar, I’ve found wines that Stanko made much more sophisticated and classically styled, whereas wines from Saša’s era have been much more variable, often being too natty or excessively volatile. Stanko’s wines aged wonderfully and the are the reason why Radikon is such a big name. I’m not sure whether Saša’s wines will age as well.

But when it comes to the orange wines of Friuli, I still feel no other producer is a match for Gravner. There are many superb producers, but Gravner is in a class of his own.

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I agree with this.

Do you have any awareness of the specific practices as to how the wines differ? Any sources on how Saša works?

In a different region but in the same groove i feel it’s very much the same way that Tony Bornards wines differ to those of his father.

tom sure does enjoy repeatedly putting his hand back on the stove. i have yet to see a positive note on any orange wine, natural wine, dressner import, etc. and for some reason he keeps trying them :rofl:

on a more serious note, i concur the more recent vintages are far more clean and consistent than the past. really can’t go wrong with a slatnik or sivi these days. perhaps the wines bottled in 500ml are more intense and particular.

I took a try on a set of these wines last year. Opened the Slatnik and Sivi. Intellectually challenging, but not at all pleasing to me. I didn’t bother with the RS after failing to be able to finish either of the first two. I don’t need another “needs many years in the cellar to reveal its mysteries” wine to fill up my already burgeoning cellar. I told my retailer never to offer me any more of them. He bought them back. I recognize skin contact whites when presented in a tasting. I can’t recall ever favoring one over “traditionally-made” wines from the same varietal.


That’s definitely not so. I’ve given plenty of positive reviews to those wines…when they warrant it.

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Tom has posted multiple very positive notes on Foradori, a longtime LDM import.

Nope, I have no clear picture how they differ. I’ve heard somebody say Saša is making more naturally than his father, but I’ve also understood that Stanko’s style was pretty hands-off to begin with.

But yeah, Bornards are pretty much the same. I’ve loved most (not all) Philippe Bornard’s wines, but have found Tony’s wines less reliable and often more natty.

Agree with whom? I thought the only consensus we had here was that Stanko’s wines used to be cleaner and more consistent than his son’s. Most of the Saša wines I’ve had have been excessively volatile and/or too natty.


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i misread the comment from mads. i suppose that is not necessarily my finding then, although i agree regarding bornard! the old radikons (especially the reds) could be far more wild than the newer wines which are bottled in 750ml format. i have even had some mouse appear in the oslavje from stanko.

tom it is a joke! it seems peculiar to refer to a wine as both “profoundly unpleasant” but good in a decade imo…

My apologies if i formulated myself unclearly. I see however where you’re coming from when there’s such a bottle variation.

@Otto_Forsberg Scoured through a handful of interviews now but I don’t see anything. I don’t want to venture into a lenghty discussion on the origins and remedies of mousiness*, because it’s endless. If anybody sees this post and know more of the generational change please do chime in.

*mousiness has been my only sporadic issue with the main cuvees, but VA and mousiness has been in every RS, Slatnik etc.

I can do a quick one.

A small dose of SO2 goes a long way.

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