Crush Notes 9 Wine Education 9 Arianna Occhipinti- Sicilian Winemaker

Arianna Occhipinti- Sicilian Winemaker

by | Monday, March 1, 2021 | Wine Education, Wine Regions, Wine Reviews

Passionate winemaking from Vittoria Sicily – A salute on International Women’s Day

Meet Arianna and sip her SP-68 Rosso, made from a co-fermentation of indigenous red grapes grown bio-dynamically on the road bearing this same name – SP 68.

Meet Arianna  📌

Passion, Dedication, and an Independent Spirit!

 

Inspired, determined, and independent, Arianna Occhipinti [pronounced, OAK-ee PEENT-ee] was born and raised in the Vittoria region of south-eastern Sicilia, not far from Mediterranean sea. She makes beautiful, quaffable bio-dynamic wines under her own label, Occhipinti, established independently at age 22 (yes 22)!  She is dedicated to the indigenous grapes of her Vittoria region, so grows and crafts wines from the Frappato and Nero d’Avola grapes, which have been growing in the ruddy sand, clay, and limestone soils here for centuries. Arianna gained a passion for winemaking starting at age 16 helping her Uncle Giusto in the cellar of the famed COS winery also of Vittoria. He took her to the VinItaly Wine Expo in Verona that same year where she fell in love with the idea of winemaking as a life path, and a dream was sparked – of making her own wine. A few short years later, she left Sicily long enough to get a degree in enology from the University of Milan, then returned immediately with a single focus, to make her own wine in the most natural way possible, respecting native grapes and the land where they grow. In 2004 (age 22) she bottled her first vintage under her own “Occhipinti” label, from 1 hectare of vineyard land, following no recipes or rules except for the suggestions the vines and cellar themselves may offer. This means, you won’t find a Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG bottling under her brand.  She crafts single varieties and blends of the native Frappato and Nero d’Avola grapes, and more recently adding whites to her lineup, from a blend of Zibbibo and Albanello grapes, also native to the region.

Today she harvests grapes from 25 hectares, organically grown and following bio-dynamic principles. She relies on only native yeasts and uses little to no sulpher to achieve the closest thing to natural wine she can make. But Arianna is clear – her aim isn’t to make “natural wine.”  She uses natural methods as the best means to arrive at her ultimate goal:  to produce the best wines that respect nature and express the vines and grapes grown thereNot following a recipe of a regional consorzio, but rather respecting the grapes and the land, she says, allows her to wake each morning feeling free.

Fun Fact:  Occhipinti, her surname, means “painted eyes” in Italian.  Her original wine labels and branding featured an artistic outline of an eye. Today, her branding features an outline of the vineyard blocks instead.

The Wine 
SP-68 Rosso, Terre Siciliane IGT

Her SP 68 Rosso (IGT, Terre Siciliane), named for the road of Arianna’s home vineyard has gained notoriety for its lively flavor and a natural winemaking that reflects the ruddy soils and native grapes of the region.

GRAPES & METHOD: It’s a delicious co-fermentation of 70% Frappato and 30% Nero d’Avola, bio-dynamically grown and hand-harvested from three different sites of sand, clay, and/or limestone. The wine is produced with native yeasts of course, aged in concrete and bottled unfiltered.

TASTING: From the first whiff I’m carried to a wine cellar on aromas and memories of freshly fermenting fruit. It enters the palate bright with a spark, then broadens with some weight on the palate with concentrated red fruit flavors of raspberry, pomegranate and a touch of blackberry on the finish.

ENJOY:  It’s a perfectly balanced wine that can be both your thirst-quencher (serve cool) and an ideal food wine paired with pastas, lighter meats and any appetizer or cheese and salumi plate.

I’d love your feedback —  Did you try this wine?  Other wines from Arianna Occhipinti or the Vittoria region of Sicily?

        …..Drop me a note:  MaryBeth@crushcoursewine.com

 

2 Comments

  1. Isn’t she fantastic Andrea? And her wines too!

  2. THis is amazing.

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