World’s first sparkling wine made in complete darkness launchedBy Lucy Shaw
Slovenian winery Radgonske Gorice has launched what it claims to be the world’s first sparkling wine made in complete darkness from grape to bottle.
Called Untouched by Light, the fizz is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in Slovenia’s Gornja Radgona region picked on “moonless nights”.
Once the wine is made using night vision goggles, it is aged in black lightproof bottles in a pitch-black cellar for up to three years. For the optimum light-free experience, its maker recommends serving it in the dark.
“What makes this wine unique is its ageing process as Untouched by Light is left to age for two to three years in our cellars with the complete absence of light,” said Radgonske Gorice’s managing director, Borut Cvetkovič.
“We use night vison glasses during harvest, bottle rotation and packaging. Once out of the cave, the wine is protected in black lightproof bottles packed in a vacuum-sealed bag blocking any additional light or air contact. I would strongly recommend that you taste this wine in pitch darkness,” he added.
Untouched by Light won’t go on sale until next year, although the winery has started taking pre-orders for the fizz. Lightstrike is a problem that can blight sparkling wine, particularly those housed in clear bottles that are exposed to natural and artificial light.
The term describes the transformation of amino acids in the wine into unpleasant smelling compounds like Dimethyl disulphide when the liquid is exposed to UV light.
Wines affected by lightstrike tend to lose their citrus aromas and can gain unpleasant notes of cooked cabbage, garlic and wet dog. Bown glass filters 99% of damaging ultraviolet light, compared to green glass, which prevents between 50-90% of the damaging rays, depending on the shade.
In 2017 Piper-Heidsieck said that it was moving to brown glass bottles for all of its Champagnes to prevent lightstrike in the wines, while back in 2010, Louis Roederer released its first Champagnes in brown bottles. Radgonske Gorice has been producing sparkling wines for 166 years.