ARIANNA OCCHIPINTI, VITTORIA
Biodynamic principles, natural, very limited availability
Arianna Occhipinti is the niece of Giusto Occhipinti of the legendary COS estate in Vittoria, south-eastern Sicily. Despite being relatively young, she is clear about her ethos and philosophy, which is to produce wines that express the unique territory of their native Iblein mountain vineyards. It is a windswept place with reddish, iron-rich soils and crabbed trees which hunch over low stone walls surrounding the vineyards.
Agricultural traditions here are millenia-old and the SP68 cuvees indeed allude to this fact. The Strada Provinciale 68 is but a continuation of a three thousand year old stone track which ancient farmers would have used to bring their own wines to the coastal trading towns of Lentini and Catania. “Never as in Bombolieri I can feel that I’m carrying with me past and future at the same time. It was the oldest wine route ever documented.” All the vineyards are worked using biodynamic principles and the work in the cellar is measured… not pushing the wine in any way… letting it find its own space… natural yeasts, no temperature control, no fining or filtration and minimal SO2 at bottling.
Vino di Contrada wines comes from 3 sites of a same vineyard, planted exclusively with Frappato. Here Arianna has identified the nuances the different soil compositions and exposure can bring to her wines and has decided to operate 3 different bottlings. From soft and silky to more robust and intense.
From the 3 Contrada wines, BB appears to be the darkest and most saturated in this set of three Frappato-based wines. This vineyard is set high on a promontory with white limestone soils. The expression is open and accessible like the others, yet this wine adds an additional layer of earth or potting soil on top of the bright red and black fruit you get on the nose. This one also appears to have extra layering and textural richness. All that fruit is capped by fresh acidity that plays a big role, making this wine a nice pairing partner to creamy fettuccine.