Localization: Sicily, Italy
Tasting Notes: Fresh, dense, and elegant, the delicate aromas of citrus fruits, exotic spices and white flowers, contrast the Mediterranean heat along a marked marine flavor. A wine that perfectly paints a portrait of the Iblei Mountains.
Notes: SM stands for the Santa Margherita vineyard, or contrada- is a white wine made from the local Grillo grape. The grapes skins lay in contact with the must for about 48 hours and are fermented and aged. in a mix of concrete and Austrian oak barrels.
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".