Arianna Occhipinti. Sicily, Italy.
I adore these wines. Their arrival each year is a sort of event, something to look forward to nearly as much as the holidays themselves. Arianna, if you aren't familiar, rose to fame as a prodigy winemaker in her mid-twenties, following in the tradition of her famous Uncle Giusto (of COS wines) and other natural winemakers like Elisabetta Foradori. Occhipinti grows only grapes that are part of the deep Sicilian tradition, Frappato taking the lead in this case. And from vine to bottle, she puts nothing into her wines, takes nothing away.
One vintage after the next seems to deepen in complexity. For this Thanksgiving, nothing could be finer. This is the first year we've gotten both the white and red offerings from her second label, SP68.
Occhipinti SP68 Rosso ($25) A blend of two of Sicily's most prized varietals, Nero D'Avola & Frappato. Nero brings the darkness while Frappato leans things out. A very aromatic wine, floral to the point it's almost perfume-y, with a lively acidity to make an incredibly fresh food wine. A really great pairing for dishes that combine meaty richness with high-toned acidic accompaniments like tomato, citrus, or vinegar. And all around a fantastic wine.
Occhipinti SP68 Bianci ($25) A blend of two of Sicily's least known varietals, Albanello & Zibibbo. As with the red, this wine is about balancing forces. Zibibbo lends a floral and aromatic complexity while the Albanello provides a bracing structure. Peach and pear mingle with herbal notes like dried coriander. Very fresh, very much alive, sure to take your bird soaring to the next level.