A Slovenian producer brings out sparkling wine that is gathered and made in total darkness. This is our first taste …
The impact of a light blow
The Slovenian wine under the “Untouched by Light” brand is said to be the first of its kind from the Slovenian producer Radgonski Gorice, which has been producing sparkling wines for 168 years.
The Slovenian producer was inspired by research carried out in 1989 by Professor Emerita Ann S. Noble on the effect of fluorescent light on sparkling wine and wine primarily for wine production.
Various studies have shown that ultraviolet rays from the sun or artificial lights can obscure the bright fruit flavors and add unpleasant tones like rotten cabbage, eggs, and wet wool.
Although this taste is similar to that caused by reduction, “reduction is reversible, a little lift is not,” says the manufacturer.
By producing sparkling wines with minimal exposure to light, manufacturers try to “preserve the original aromatic components of the wine as much as possible”.
Made in the dark
To ensure this vine sees as little light as possible, pickers harvest at night with night vision goggles. During transportation, the grapes are placed under the tarp.
“Night vision goggles are helpful in every step of the process because you can see everything, but you have to get used to it,” says Klavdia Topolovets Shpur, maker of the “Untouched by light” winery.
Oenologists note that workers sometimes need to use their sense of touch to complete work in the basement, including rebuilding (fortune-telling) and deactivating.
The main wine is poured into bottles made from 99.8% black glass and ripened in natural caves in the dark in the basement of the 166 year old manor. Before releasing, the bottles were vacuum sealed with black foil.
Chardonnay grapes are harvested in hilly vineyards near the town of Gornja Radgona in northeastern Slovenia between the Mura and Ščavnica rivers.
This region, influenced by the Pannonia Plains, has a continental climate with moderate rainfall, hot summers, and cold winters.
Selected south facing property called “AJDA” includes old vines planted in 1989 with eutric brown soil and limestone gravel. The altitude is between 220 and 240 meters above sea level.
After 36 months of ripening in yeast, the grapes are discarded in early 2020. The result is a sparkling wine with a lot of freshness and aromatic properties that are very distinctive and complex.
The 2016 introductory harvest of “Untouched by Light” has an acidity of 8 g / l and an alcohol content of 12%. The rest of the sugar is included in the brut category (6.9 g / l).
Only 2,000 bottles were made for this harvest, with the goal of growing to more than 3,000 “because we have sufficient capacity in the cave,” said Klavdia Topolovets Shpur.
How to serve it
Manufacturers offer sommeliers to serve wine in a dark environment and in sunglasses, acknowledging that “this is not always possible”.
The alternative, the manufacturer says, is to try wine “as an experiment” to see how the lighting effect can change the properties of the gases in the glass.
Sparkling wine has been produced in Oberradgona since 1852. Production was initiated by Aloyz Klenošek during the time of Archduke Johannes of Austria, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen, which expanded wine production in the region. Production was then continued by the Swiss-French Bouvier family.