The wine of the month
Radgonske Gorice, Untouched by Light, 2016
4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP
May 2021: Radgonske Gorice, Untouched by Light, 2016 (100 EUR when purchasing in the winery) white dry sparkling wine, Radgona-Kapela, Štajerska, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points) (06-05-2021 by Nenad Jelisic)
Here we have the world's most unique sparkling wine. Unique thanks to the fact that both its harvest and its entire production process (including aging and bottling) has taken place under darkness. To be able to work under such working conditions, workers wore night vision goggles. Last but not least, before any bottle is allowed to leave the winery, it is vacuum-sealed in an aluminium packaging. In such a way, the bottle is in the total darkness until it is time to open the package and then the bottle. The reason for everything that was mentioned before was that various researchers claim that light (both natural and artificial) has a negative effect on the wine's entire production process as well as on the wine's life in the bottle until the bottle is opened. Enough about that.
How then the world's most unique sparkling wine is experienced, smells and tastes. It has a wonderful acidity better to say an optimal acidity. The same goes for the wine bubbles. By optimal acidity is meant acidity that feels refreshing in the mouth, but it does not burn holes in the stomach when the wine enters it, as many sparkling wines do. By optimal bubbles is meant bubbles that give a wonderful and pleasant feeling in the mouth and that do not try to go through the nose when one drinks the wine. In addition to being optimal, both, especially acidity, stay far in the mouth and give a feeling of freshness, creaminess and a little bitterness. Red apples, citrus fruits, yellow pears, walnuts, freshly baked brioche and white flowers clearly stand out in the aroma. In the flavour one can feel lemon, grapefruit, red apples, minerals and a little ripe yellow quince and browned butter. If the wine had a little more complex flavour, which it could get if it was slightly longer in contact with lees (yeast sediment) in the bottle, and at the same time had a slightly better acidity that would balance that complex flavour, it would get 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points). But Radgonske Gorice Untouched by Light 2016 has not without reason got 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points), it is a wonderful sparkling wine that NJ Wines very strongly recommends that you try.
The wine can be enjoyed both as an aperitif and wine to hang out with friends. Speaking of wine to hang out with friends. Imagine that you enter a room where your guests are sitting and waiting for a drink, in a room with dim lighting from candles, with a black aluminium package with visible contours of a bottle in it that none of your guests have ever seen before. Then you open the package and take a beautiful black bottle out of it, gently open the bottle and start filling the wine for the guests. All your guests will wonder what is happening and what is this for the special wine. In addition, as an aperitif and wine to hang out with friends, the wine will go really well with freshly cooked crawfish (cooked in dill and beer spiced water) and freshly baked brioche with really good butter on it or with freshly cooked lobster which after the cooking is divided into halves and brushed with browned butter and very finely chopped dill or with butter-fried cod fillet with white wine sauce and small new potatoes cooked with dill or with Toast Skagen (Swedish Shrimp Toast). The wine is in perfect condition now and will not benefit from an aging longer than 5 years from now (2026). It should be drunk at 8°C, if possible, from real champagne glasses from Orrefors, Kosta Boda, Spiegelau or Riedel.
The wine is a 100% Chardonnay-wine or a Blanc de Blancs-wine, as it is called in the sparkling wine world. Vines are 32 years old. The soil on which the vines for the wine grow consists of marl (a clayey soil that contains a lot of lime) and limestone gravel. The grapes for the wine are hand-harvested and carefully selected. The selection takes place before the harvest because the actual harvest takes place in darkness. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins and seeds, goes in a press machine. When the pressing is complete, the must is poured into stainless steel tanks where the fermentation with the natural yeast from the vineyard, under a controlled temperature between 15 and 20 degrees, begins. The wine does not go through the malolactic fermentation. When the fermentation is complete, the wine is poured over, gets a little sugar and yeast, and then is bottled. In the bottle, a new fermentation begins (the second fermentation) that creates carbon dioxide gas. When the wine has finished fermenting, it is left in contact with its lees (yeast sediment) for 36 months (as vintage champagnes in France). When aging is complete, the bottles are placed with the neck down under a slope of 45 degrees in wooden stands and then the bottles are tilted step by step to a slope of 90 degrees. Then the bottles are started to rotate (remuage). This process takes just under 60 days and is performed manually, and through it the lees (yeast sediment) collects in the bottleneck. Then the lees in the bottleneck is frozen and immediately after, the bottles are placed with the neck upwards, the metallic cap is removed and the pressure in the bottle ejects the frozen yeast sediment (dégorgement). Now, 6,9 g/l special wine (dosage) is added, and the wine is ready to be corked and sold. Only 2,000 bottles were made from this wonderful wine and this vintage is the wine's first.