Arianna Occhipinti is Awesome, So Are the Wines of Occhipinti!

We all know of ancient Sicily, it sits right off the toe of Italy’s main land and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.  The region has a diverse culture from first being a Greek colony then a Roman outpost that subsequently  fell to Arab rule and eventual invasion by the Normans.  Each past society contributed immensely to art, music, architecture and cuisine giving modern day Sicily a wonderful mix of past kingdom pageantry and peasant agricultural traditions, it is also the home of super cool, down to earth Arianna Occhipinti.

Arianna is a twenty something wine grower who has been producing wine only since 2004 and I bet she has a great sense of humor and is really confident in her wardrobe choices.  I bet she doesn’t really follow fashion trends but instead dresses appropriately for the sunny Sicilian weather and isn’t afraid to wear her vineyard  jeans to the local osteria.  

Arianna farms her vineyard using bio-dynamic methods, letting the chalk heavy soils and the Islands climate shine through in the finished wines.   She believes in only working with Sicilian native varietals: Nero D’Avola and Frappato for the reds, Albanello and Zibbibo for the whites.  The wines fall under the IGT-table wine designation, even though the Nero D’Avola-Frappato blend could sport the DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittoria label she doesn’t adhere to the barrel aging requirements and instead vinifies and refines everything in concrete.  This preserves the natural, bright freshness of the grapes.  She is an outlaw alright, I wonder if anyone could tame her.  I bet just hanging out and talking to her could be a lot of fun.  I bet she knows about sports as well as politics and I bet you could smell the sunshine and salt water in her hair.

SP68 IGT Sicilia Rosso 2009, $24.  Named after the road that passes by her home, this blend of Nero D’Avola and Frappato is fermented like all her wines using natural yeasts, no temperature control vinification and no filtration.  The result is a wine of elegant precision, balanced tart-red and slick-black fruit.  Perfect for arancine, eggplant caponata, milza (sandwiches with veal spleen) and of course olives.  Arianna’s skin has a nice olive tint to it, I wonder if it would be weird to present her own wine to her at dinner?  Do they have prom night in Sicily?  

Il Frappato IGT Sicilia Rosso 2008, $36.  Frappato usually makes nondescript soft, plush wines but in Arianna’s tough calloused, but still feminine hands it climbs to complex, chiseled heights.  It is light in color and body but delivers powerful, spicy flavor to compliment roasted rabbit with almond sauce or chicken on a skewer.

Siccagno Nero D’Avola IGT Sicilia Rosso 2007, $36.  Sicily’s most planted grape (did you know only 15% of Nero D’Avola is actually bottled on the island, the rest is shipped off to be blended for mass market consumption…ever see that crap at Trader Joes?) Arianna’s is by far the best version in the whole wide world.  Cuddly and expressive with earth driven minerality (am I writing about the wine or Arianna?) save this wine for salsiccia alla pizzaiola, or whatever Arianna’s favorite dish is.

Imported by Louis-Dressner Selections.



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3 Responses to “Arianna Occhipinti is Awesome, So Are the Wines of Occhipinti!”

  1. Bradley Says:

    LMAO, this is freaking awesome.

  2. richmondwineculture Says:

    I still can’t find Occhipinti’s SP68 Bianco anywhere in Richmond. I’m looking forward to trying it out, I am sure it will be lovely.

  3. josh s. Says:

    easy there cowboy…

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