Localization: Sicily, Italy
Tasting notes: It presents an expressive aromatic range of myrtle, red rose, pepper, and tobacco. On the palate, it is intense and enthralling, with excellent freshness and persistence.
The Frappato is the pearl for Arianna Occhipinti. We are in Victoria, south of Monti Iblei and about 10 km from the sea, it was here that a "star" of natural wine has been awarded the "Triple-A: Farmers, Artisans, Artists". Three " V " characterize the lives of Arianna Occhipinti, a young agricultural entrepreneur who, after studying enology in Milan, decided to return to his homeland, Sicily. Vittoria, Wine, and Vineyard. Three simple words that Arianna has been able to combine excellence in transforming the area. It's always Arianna to say that "the natural approach is not an end but a means, the only way to produce a wine of the territory". A very intelligent woman, with a passion for wine as it was done once, which has gained step by step the confidence of the general public doing rediscover the peculiarities of his land, without disturbing or alter it in its aspect of origin. The Frappato by Arianna Occhipinti is a dream come true, is the most perfect wine for transposition into what Arianna thinks, what he believes Arianna, what Arianna wants. Its wine is sometimes difficult, sometimes blood, sometimes tough and gruff, but always elegant and charming nonetheless. Frappato Arianna aged for 14 months in Slavonia oak barrels and 2 months in the bottle, but it is not filtered, the palate is fleshy, juicy, sun, and fresh with a pleasant mineral finish. Frappato is flowers, herbs, and tobacco. Frappato is Arianna. Frappato is Vittoria.
The Domain: The winery of Arianna Occhipinti, one of Italy's most authentic and celebrated women of wine, is located in Vittoria, in the province of Ragusa, on the now-famous Strada Provinciale 68. Her story as a winemaker began very early, when, after obtaining a diploma in Agriculture and Enology in Milan, she decided to return to her beloved Sicily, determined to produce high-quality wines while respecting ancient traditions. In 2004 she bought a hectare of land at the foot of the Iblei mountains, near Vittoria, and planted her first vineyard. Today the estate has expanded to 22 hectares of vineyards and orchards. This includes beautiful plots of land in the districts of Fossa di Lupo and Piraino, divided by traditional dry stone walls, where the typical vines of the area are grown: Frappato, Nero d'Avola, Cerasuolo di Vittoria and Zibibbo.
Arianna Occhipinti's production philosophy is proudly traditionalist and very respectful of the land and nature: the use of green manure in alternate rows, treatments with only copper and sulfur, fermentation carried out in cement tanks with indigenous yeasts, no filtration, and aging in large wood barrels with little or no toasting. This is the work of Arianna Occhipinti, a 'natural woman' who draws strength and success from the land, from passion and love for the territory.
Arianna personally manages the entire production cycle, putting her studies in Milan to good use. From the vineyard, as an expert in agriculture, to the winery, as an expert enologist, she has also developed into a skilled administrator and marketing expert. Her wines, known and appreciated all over the world, reflect the characters, aromas, and peculiarities of the terroir in which the vineyards are immersed. These are authentic, rustic, but especially true wines: expressions of one of the most charismatic producers of the Italian peninsula.
In 2006, Joe and Kevin fell in love with the wines of an unassuming 24-year-old showing her first vintage at an Italian wine fair. Today, Arianna Occhipinti has become a seminal figure for a new generation of wine lovers. Her rise to prominence has been meteoric, and rightfully so: anyone who has ever met Ari will instantly vouch for her charming personality and seemingly boundless energy.
Arianna is the niece of Giusto Occhipinti, whose COS wines are undisputedly amongst the very best of Sicily. In 1998, Giusto invited her to help him out at Vinitaly for four days. Arianna was 16 at the time and knew nothing about wine; the experience was such a good one that she decided to study viticulture and enology in university. This quickly proved counter-intuitive, since everything she had learned from her uncle (organic viticulture, hand-harvesting, native yeast fermentations) clashed with what she was being taught in school.
Undeterred, Arianna started making her own wine with just one hectare of abandoned vines in the commune of Vittoria. Over the years, she has progressively expanded the estate by replanting 10 hectares of the region's indigenous Frappato and Nero D'Avola in selection massale. A few years later, she was able to start renting 50-year-old Frappato and 45-year-old Nero D'Avola vines, both independently bottled as single varietal/vineyard cuvées. In 2012, an additional eight hectares of 19-year-old vines were acquired, which for the time being will be used to produce more of her "SP68".
Continually pushing things forward, Arianna built herself a new cellar in 2014, a huge step up from the cramped, chaotic space she used to work in. Besides the obvious advantage of having more space, it has permitted Arianna to start a new regiment of concrete fermentation and aging for both "SP68"'s, which used to be produced in stainless steel and fiberglass. Some of the tanks are glass lined, some aren't. They are all 2mx2m, and with the way they are set up, the juice can be worked by gravity.