I love when you stumble on the little gems in the far corners of a wine list.  We found this kind of buried treasure last night at Lecosho in Seattle.  There it was, listed among the rest of the “white” wines, Radikon’s 2005 Jakot stared innocently up at me.  Eyes wide like a kid on Christmas morning, I happily (and promptly) ordered it.

The wine was stunning in the glass- an opalescent orange hue that glowed like embers in the dimly lit room.  On the nose it is less overtly floral than some Slovenian “Orange” wines, probably due to the fact that the Radikon Jakot is 100% (Tocai) Friulano.  A few years back the Hungarian government launched a campaign against the use of the term “Tocai” or “Tokaj” for anything other than its native Hungarian Tocaj’s.  This resulted in the Italian producers labeling their bottles with the Italian grape variety “Tocai” or “Tocai Friulano” today simply as “Friulano”.  Radikon’s spunky, fun-loving response was to give his “Friulano” the name “Jakot”… Tokaj backwards.

The wine is totally saline on the nose- smelling of fresh ocean breezes and carrying a hint of cardamom and black tea.  As it opens and warms in the glass, deeper, sherried notes rise and mingle with a touch of dried apricot and verbena.  On the palate the wine is gently tannic, super fresh and quite mouth-coating in texture.  The acidity level was high enough to cut through Lecosho’s rich, homey dishes, and the tannin provided from extended contact with the lees throughout fermentation gave the wine enough backbone and structure to work its way throughout the meal.

Thanks to the perfect suggestion by Italian bartender (and amazing rock drummer) Simona Bressi, we ordered the Roasted Chicken.  Sounds boring, but it was just about the most exciting thing I’ve eaten in a long time.  Juicy, plump chicken encased in perfectly crispy-salty skin.  All piled on top of a bed of creamy farro.  

What did we learn at Lecosho? Orange wine is food wine.  It’s weird and wonderful and just about the most exciting thing since an All-Female Black Sabbath Tribute Band.

Rock on, Simona, rock on.

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine.

The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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