Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2012
Hyper-allocated Sicilian beauty from Arianna Occhipinti
just 36 bottles in stock Sicily has always been a major source of wine, one of Italy's most prodigious, but never a source of great wine. It was almost always dull, industrial reds and sweet whites with the occasional bright spot like Regaleali's great Rosso del Conte. That situation has changed dramatically in just the last ten years. Two regions in the east of the island have been spearheading this transformation: Etna and Vittoria. Both of these winegrowing regions can attribute their recent successes to a new, younger generation of winegrowers who've embraced not just their obscure, native varietals but also responsible farming and natural winemaking. Arguably the most successful of this new generation, Arianna Occhipinti crushed her first vintage in 2004, right out of enological school and all of 22 years old. Fast forward seven years and she's become not just the most famous Sicilan winemaker ever and one of Italy's brightest, rising young stars but a seminal figure in the world of natural wine. Encouraged by her uncle, Giusto Occhipinti of COS (one of Sicily's top wine producers), Arianna started her operation with just one hectare of abandoned vines in Vittoria, her home turf in southeast Sicily, between the mountains and the sea. She's now farming a total of 18 hectares of mainly the indigenous frappato and nero d'avola on land never touched by chemicals. These wines have become very difficult to source and those in the know tend to grab whatever can be had on release and it's generally just bottles. This bottling is a second label of sorts, young vines that would ordinarliy be bottled as Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, and I only receive 3 cases which will go quickly.
The SP68, named for the Strada Provinciale 68 that takes you to the winery, is a great example of this new wave of Sicilian winemaking. A 60/40 blend of frappato and nero d'avola grown in the regions limestone soils. The nero d'avola provides the dark, meaty backbone of the wine while the frappato gives the wine it's vibrant raspberry fruit and floral perfume. Fresh, bright, earthy and complex, with long-lasting floral, fruit and mineral flavors. A fantastic wine for the holiday table and a great introduction to this exciting new wave of old school Italian winegrowing.
Leave a comment