• Crown of Vittoria: Arianna Occhipinti

    Crown of Vittoria: Arianna Occhipinti

    Some producers define a region, and others transcend it. Young Arianna Occhipinti worked alongside her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti of COS, who put Vittoria on the world map. In 2004, she produced her first wine with just one hectare. Every day since then, it's been more or less a battle for allocations. Arianna's wines have a velvety texture and concentration, illustrating how intensity shouldn't be mutually exclusive with elegance.

    "SP68" is 70% Frappato and 30% Nero d'Avola. It's fermented and aged entirely in concrete, which preserves the notes of fresh red-blue fruit and mineral streak that's signature to Vittoria—2021 is the best vintage to date! And Il Frappato is comprised of 100% Frappato from various hillsides, as well as in parcels surrounding the estate. The Frappato is the first Sicilian wine I would pour for Pinot Noir lovers.

    Arianna studied enology in Milan and was disheartened to find that industrial winemaking took precedence over the natural vineyard. When she returned to Vittoria, she slowly began cultivating her land, growing vines, and more. The one hectare she started with has grown into 28, with organic farming strictly followed.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Dreamers of Vittoria: COS

    Dreamers of Vittoria: COS

    The drive from Mt. Etna to Vittoria reminded me just how varied the landscape and terroir of Sicily were. Temperatures rose, and the climate turns arid. It was hard to believe the place I was heading was beloved for the freshness and clarity of its wines. Still, there's no better introduction to Vittoria than the dream project brewed up by Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano (COS) in 1980.

    There's a constant breeze going through the Hyblaean mountains, and the vines here are on red clay and sand over a deep bedrock of limestone. The wind helps moderate the inland temperatures, the red sand cooling immediately after sunset, and the limestone is responsible for low pH levels in the wine, giving high acidity and nervy minerality.

    I met with Giusto Occhipinti just as they were starting to bottle a new vintage. The wines we tasted were fermented in cement and aged in large Slavonian oak casks, similar to one's used for traditional Barolo and Brunello. This technique ensures the wines accentuate crisp, refreshing notes that make the wines a joy to drink. COS has put the region's once obscure Frappato and Nero d'Avola on the world map!

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    Posted by Max Kogod