First Look

Food and wine porn from Frasca Food and Wine's Monday night wine dinner with Radikon

Last night, in the midst of making final preparations to open Caffé, Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson put together a momentous Monday night wine dinner at Frasca Food and Wine featuring Sasa Radikon, a wine producer from Friuli that makes unique, complex macerated wines -- but rarely leaves the vineyard, or Italy, to show them off.

Last night's menu featured traditional Friulano dishes, and it was designed to highlight the wines. If you didn't make it to the event, here's some food and wine porn to make up for what you missed:

Maceration is the process by which red wines get their color, when the juice is left in contact with the skin and stems. White wines almost never undergo maceration and when they do, they derive an orange hue. Radikon leaves its whites in maceration for about three and a half months. Last night's first wine was a Ribolla Gialla, a grape native to Friuli that has viscosity, tannen and notes of smoke and spice. It was lifted by a dish inspired by Friuli's bitter greens festival: braised radicchio topped with smoked ricotta, creamy polenta and paper-thin strips of salty prosciutto. Course two pitted rich capelli in piquant pork ragú against Radikon's taut, acidic Jakot, playfully named to poke fun at rules that won't allow the producer to call the wine tokaj, though that's what the grapes have been known as for centuries. Sasa Radikon was on hand all night, explaining how his family began experimenting with macerated wines in 1995, and how they've now streamlined production and used it to eliminate the addition of sulfites, since the process of maceration naturally preserves wine. The night ended with a tart ruby red grapefruit and a scoop of Frasca's housemade yogurt.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk