Year zero at Radikon – Ribolla Gialla 1995

“The really big change was when I tasted the wine. It was something completely new, totally different and exciting. It made me crazy, just tasting it.”

This is how Stanko Radikon describes the life changing moment in 1995 which prompted him to change the family’s entire wine production to what we now know and love as “orange wines”.

Well macerated Riesling: Štekar – Re Piko 2009

Almost 18 months after discovering Štekar’s serious, spicy and brooding Rebula at Rawfair in 2013, The Morning Claret made it out to their beautiful corner of Brda (Western Slovenia), to discover an outstanding skin macerated RIesling.

A fiery Roter Traminer from Tauss

I’ve featured wines from several of the Schmecke das Leben producers in this series, but not Tauss until now. Roland and Alice Tauss are perhaps the least well known winery in the group, partly due to their very small size – there’s a mere 6 hectares of vines at their bucolic estate in Southern Styria.

Deep down in a Georgian qvevri – Vinoterra Rkatsiteli 2011

The spiritual and traditional nub of Georgian winemaking is the qvevri – a clay, amphora like vessel buried in the ground and described by Josko Gravner as “a womb for the wine”. Wellmade qvevri white wines can be revelatory in their freshness, intensity and uniqueness. Qvevris have become hip, and producers all over the globe are buying them up. But sometimes you need to go back to the source, to find a winemaker who really knows how to make the style sing. Gogi Dakishvili is just such a chap – head winemaker at Schuchmann estate in Kakheti, Georgia.

One year of skin contact – Strohmeier Wein der Stille 2013

Regular readers will have noticed I’ve featured a few wines in this slot that merely flirt with the orange wine category. So to end the first year of these orange segments, here’s an all-out, serious contender made with 12 months of maceration: Strohmeier’s Wein Der Stille 2013, from Southern Styria, Austria

Le Due Terre – Sacrisassi Bianco 2013

It’s starting to become a theme in this series – edge cases which are not really orange wines. Take the sole white wine from microscopic but world reknowned Le Due Terre, in Friuli Colli Orientali. A blend of Friulano with 30% Ribolla Gialla, it has 10-12 days of skin contact, and is spontaneously fermented without temperature control. Yet it definitely doesn’t fit the “orange wine” moniker in a stylistic sense.

A maceration masterclass at Il Carpino – Ribolla Gialla 2011

If you want to have a masterclass in how skin contact affects white wines, there’s probably no better place than Franco and Anna Sosol’s tasting room. Il Carpino is their 17ha estate, situated on the same winding hill road as Radikon and Gravner, in Friuli Collio.

Cornelissen’s way – Making wine without sulphur

I’m delighted that this feature was awarded “Best editorial/Opinion wine writing” in the 2015 Born Digital Wine awards. It originally appeared on Tim Atkin’s website in March 2014. Mount Etna’s most controversial winemaker, Frank Cornelissen, is a hard man to track down. After a first failed meet up (my tardiness partially to blame) and a number […]

Master of the Carso: Sandi Skerk – Ograde 2012

Sandi Skerk must have one of the most idyllically sited vineyards in Friuli, if not the world. Grassed terraces curve gently around the contours of the Carso hills, and lead your eye out towards the Adriatic coast. I’m profoundly happy to be standing by his albarello-pruned Vitovska vines, almost four years to the day after a previous eye-opening visit in 2011. Sandi is of course the same as ever – gentle, rather shy, yet somehow dogmatic and politely forceful when he needs to be.

Sepp Muster – Erde 2012

If you made a list of the world’s most vertiginous wine regions, Southern Styria would certainly be amongst them. Vineyards sprawl up and down extraordinary gradients, at unlikely angles to each other. It’s a breathtaking, individual landscape, and therefore quite fitting that the area is home to some of Austria’s most unconventional wines and producers.