“It’s stupid not to be organic in Sicily,” Ms. Occhipinti said. “We have the perfect climate.”
While the wines of Mount Etna have come to signify wines from Siciliy (and are a wonderful introduction to Sicily), those are not the only great wines Sicilian land has to offer. If you focus too much on Etna, you may even miss the best of what grapes such as Frappato and Nero d'Avola have to offer.
Long considered to play second fiddle, wines from Vittoria in Sicily, have their own personality, not unlike the personality of star winemaker Arianna Occhipinti.
As Eric (@ericasimov ) shared in the article, "back in the 1980s and ’90s, international grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were seen as a way of proving Sicily’s ability to make fine wine despite its reputation for heavy, powerful wines sold in bulk."
Fortunately, this didn't take off and all the star winemakers that we have now grown to love went back to indigenous grape varieties like the Frappato and Nero d'Avola.
Arianna started at age 16 in her uncle Giusto Occhipinti's cellar and loved the whole winemaking so much she decided to pursue oenology to pursue her own wine production.
She began with a mere one hectare of abandoned vines attached to a family vacation house. Fast forward to 2006 when she bottled her first commercial vintage and in less than two decades, what Arianna has achieved has few parallels.
Her 25 hectares are certified-organic she practices biodynamic farming, featuring only native Sicilian varietals-Frappato, Nero d'Avola, and other white varieties Albanello and Zibibbo and her wines are among the best the land has to offer. Her Nero d'Avola, made from vines with an average age of 35 years and aged in big Slovenian 25hl oak barrels for 22 months followed by 2 months of bottle ageing is class defining.
As Arianna puts it, Nero is the grape that unites Sicily from end to end.
We just finished a family celebration opening this bottle.The nose was perfumed, the wine was lively, full of fruit, juicy and spicy.
DM/WA 91089395 to order.
Wine Scholar, seller of quality wines that reflect the terroir and the passion of the winemaker. Love to share a glass of great wine.