Wine Spectator 91
A highly aromatic, dry, medium- to full-bodied white, with ample bergamot, saffron, quince blossom and marjoram notes leading to poached peach and cherry pit flavors, accented by firm, lip-smacking acidity. Long and expressive on the finish. Zibibbo and Albana. Drink now through 2025. 1,100 cases imported.—A.N.
This earthy, intriguing white offers penetrating aromas of pressed wild flower, vineyard dust, orchard fruit and dried aromatic herb. The pervasive floral scent follows through to the mineral-driven palate along with dried peach, candied nectarine zest and chopped sage.
60% Zibibbo/40% Albanello. The two varieties are native to Sicily--Zibibbo is more widely known as Muscat of Alexandria--and are grown on red sand soils over limestone rock, with vines averaging 15 years old on several different estate sites. The vines are organically and biodynamically farmed and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and co-fermented with native yeasts in concrete tanks and with a two-week skin maceration. The wine is aged in concrete tank for 8 months and bottled unfiltered.
The wine is named "SP68" for the road near Arianna Occhipinti's home vineyard in Vittoria.
Arianna OcchipintiView all from Arianna Occhipinti
Occhipinti is located in Vittoria, in the southwestern corner of Sicily, and winemaker Arianna Occhipinti's reputation seems to grow with every vintage. Her first vintage was 2004, though it wasn't until 2005 that her wines were internationally distributed. Arianna has a total of 10 hectares of Nero d'Avola and Frappato vines that, since April of 2009, have been farmed using biodynamic methods, which she believes has added to the overall expression of the soil. The grapes, planted largely on chalky soils, are trained using albarello or guyot and are left to vigorously grow leaves so as to maintain freshness. Fermentation for Frappato takes place in stainless steel while the Nero d'Avola is fermented in large plastic tubs though her goal is to eventually ferment everything in cement. Maceration for the Nero d'Avola is 30-40 days and longer for the Frappato.
In addition to the monovarietal wines, Arianna makes a blend of Nero and Frappato called SP68. Named for the road going past her house, the wine is made like a Cerasuolo but is labelled as IGT Sicilia as Arianna does not always want to age the wine for the minimum 18 months in barrel required by the authorities.