Tag Archives: Sicilia

Just be COS

I thought I had focused this fabulous winery in a “wine of the week” post. But in spite of having enjoyed their wines so much, when I chequed, that wasn’t the case. They have been mentioned though, at several ocations, like when I visited Spanish tinaja (big clay vessel) maker Juan Padilla. This wine is a masterpiece, and made in clay from Padilla.

COS was formed in 1980 by three students of architecture whose last names were basis for the name, the O standing for Giusto Occhipinti, who is related to Arianna. Take a look here for one example.

We find them in Vittoria at the southeastern tip of Sicilia, where they cultivate 35 hectares biodynamically. This wine is made from nero d’avola 60% and frappato 40% in soils containing clay, sand and limestone.

It was spontaneously fermented, underwent an 8 month period of skin maceration in clay pots, then further ageing in clay. It’s not fined nor filtered.

20170408_002739-1

Pithos Rosso 2015 (COS)

Bright ruby colour. Complex aroma, notes of morello, violets, red plums over earthy wild forest and mushroom. In the mouth lush, juicy and very vibrant, slightly chalky, gentle tannins, but red fruits are dominating. You can almost feel the energy of the winemakers in this wine.

Price: Medium

Food: Poultry and game, lamb and swine, fresh and hard cheeses, delicious alone (you or the wine)

Perricone, Sicilia

The Perricone grape variety originated from western Sicilia. In the past it was mostly noted for full bodied, bitter and alcoholic wines. But with today’s farming methods, often organic growing, low yields and early picking (or earlier, as it ripens very late) it has more appeal for modern palates, and still with high antioxidant qualities.

The small cooperative Valdibella in Camporeale (Palermo province) was among those who took part in the rescue operation, as the variety was in danger of extinction. Valdibella takes their pride in preserving the biodiversity, and they make natural wines in the sense that the interventions in vineyards and cellar, as well as chemical additives, are held on an absolute minimum, for some wines absolutely nothing.

Acamante is made only from perricone, hand-harvested, only with indigenous yeasts, and with no fining nor filtering. It comes with a low alcohol at 12%.

2016-10-09-15-37-11

Acamante Perricone 2013 (Valdibella)

Dark colour. A floral, perfumed scent, red berries, with some earth and spicyness. Balanced tannins, and refreshing acidity on the palate, a slight hint of bitterness. Delightful drinking.

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, pasta, antipasti with salami and other…

White from black earth

With the designation Santo Spirito this wine must be said to be quite appropriate in the so-called Holy Week we are in. Now I don’t always see the importance of chosing themes and content according to the season (there is always a reason for chosing a specific wine anyway). So we hereby leave the religious aspect.

The 25-60 year old grapes are grown in volcanic soil in the eastern corner of Sicilia, north of Catania. They are mostly carricante (about 65%), but a “field blend” of several others like inzolia, catarratto and grecanico constitutes the rest. The wine is made quite naturally, with malolactic fermentation too, that contributes to its roundness.

2016-03-23 19.23.55

Etna Bianco Santo Spirito 2014 (Tenuta delle Terre Nere)

Golden colour. The aroma is clearly tropical, with mango, apricot, cooked apple maybe, a bit lactic, and with a sensation of prolonged skin-contact. In the mouth it is unctuous, waxy, not very long and with moderate acidity. But nice drinking after all.

Price: Medium

Food: A full, round, and “tropical” wine, it was no big hit with yesterday’s varied cheese board. Next time I will try some Asian food, with some sweetness, maybe soy sauce. More safe suggestions would be fish and fowl, and why not a Sicilian style pasta dish with vegetables.

White SP68

Here is another delight from «natural woman» Arianna Occhipinti. She makes two wines named after the local road SP68. Read about the red one here. Near the town of Vitoria and Mount Etna Occhipinti dispose of about 18 hectars of vineyards.

 

The white SP68 is made from albanello and moscato di allessandria, from a vineyard 280 meters above sea level. The plants are just over 10 years old, and they are not subject to any chemical treatment. The fermentation is done with natural yeasts, the maceration 10 days with the skins, and the wine is then aged 6 months in inox and bottled unfiltered.

 

2015-06-18 20.37.14

SP68 2013 (A. Occhipinti)

Light golden orange colour (appearance almost like a fino sherry). Big aromas of white flowers, almonds and orange peel. In the mouth it is quite full with a touch of dryness, some tannin from the ten days with the skins, moderate acidity and dry finish. Just a little more skin-contact, and I would have called it an orange wine.

Price: Low

Food: Some cheeses and salads. Think of it as a moscatel wine when pairing with food.

 

On the right road

On the north eastern side of Vittoria Arianna Occhipinti’s family has 10 hectars of vinyards and 15 of olive groves, all of it grown organically. The road SP68 is, in Arianna’s words, a connection between the paths that the growers and producers use every day to come to their vineyards and towns. Here the wines travel too, in amphorae and bottles. The people here regard the SP68 as the oldest wine road in Sicilia still in existence.

The vineyards are 280 meters above sea level on red sand and some chalk, and the vines used for this wine are approximately 10 years old. The leaves are kept on the vine to maintain freshness. Only natural yeast is used, the ageing is carried out in cement for 6 months before the wine is bottled, unfiltered. Frappato and nero d’avola are used as monovarietals in other wines, but this one is a blend of 70% frappato, and the rest is nero d’avola.

(You can read about the white version here.)

2015-03-30 18.11.15

And yes, we opened another bottle of this delicious wine in this year’s holy week.

SP68 Nero d’Avola e Frappato 2013 (A. Occhipinti)

It was quite light red with a blue tinge. Nice red berry fruits (raspberry, strawberry), flowers and some spicy notes. Moderate weight, fine tannins, with slight carbonic sensation, and a refreshing acidity dancing on the tongue.

Price: Low

Food: Pizza, pasta, light meat, risotto, antipasti

Serve a little chilled

2015-03-30 18.27.43