Finally, a Sicilian wine with something to say.

Finally, a Sicilian wine with something to say.

Posted on Apr, 11. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

I did a small Google search this morning and now think that I am safe in saying that I am the first person to use the term ‘Zoinks!’ to describe a wine, at least in print. Robert Parker will be eating his hat when he realizes he overlooked that descriptor.

I have always considered Sicilian wines to be a bit pedestrian. Everything I have had seemed bent on catering to the New World Wine market alla Argentina or Chile. It seemed that the indigenous grape Nero was little more than a spicier Malbec. Most of the production seems focused on varietaly labeled Cabernets and Chardonnays. Blah, blah, blah etc… = No interest.

At the end of last week I had my world changed. My notes began with “Zoinks!” After that I have written some sensory associations ending with “pants off good wine.”

It takes a rather rare wine to achieve my ‘pants off good’ status but no wine has ever jolted the word ‘Zoinks’ from my verbal garden. You may recall the word Zoinks from Scooby Doo. It is an expression of shock and amazement, confusion and often fear.

I am not afraid of this wine. Let’s just get that out there now. This is something akin to the fear one must have when being confronted by angels. It is a special fear associated with glory and magnificence. This wine blew my mind.

It is young and took an hour or so to really open up in the palate but the nose was there from the beginning and it was akin to the bouquet envelopment of a fine Grand Cru Burgundy -I am making no exaggerated leaps here, it was. I have never experienced Nero like this and I apologize to the winemaker Arianna Occhipinti who I have read saying she wants to express the true nature of Nero, for comparing her wine abroad. I have no other reference point. I am lost and apparently I have never tasted Nero before. The core was a concentrated sap of pure dark fruit essence, dense without being wieghty. A truly stunning nose -inhale, swirl, inhale swirl, oh my lord what is this thing? The palate had fine acid and tannic firmness, there is a individual spiciness where the Burgundian association ends and the uniqueness began. Everything in the nose continued through the palate, the density, the elegance, the damned complexity, this is a top and excellent wine.

I would have never thought in a ripe vintage like 2009, in a sun drenched region like Sicily such composure and elegance would be achievable. Arianna Occhipinti is a young (beautiful), winemaker who cites guys like Josko Gravner, Nicolas Joly, Silvio Messana from Montesecondo, Francesca Padovani from Campi di Fonterenza (Tuscany), Dario Princic (Friuli Venezia-Giulia), Thierry Puzelat in the Loire Valley and Marcel Lapierre in the Beaujolais as her favorite wine makers. An interesting list that has a single unifying theme, “natural” wine making.

Arianna is a natural wine maker,

In winemaking, we often hear the terms ‘organic’ and ‘biodynamic.’ Being certified as organic or biodynamic applies to the agricultural element of winemaking: the grape growing. This includes avoiding the use of chemical products, using specific treatments and fertilizers derived from plant and animal materials, favoring manual labor in the vineyards, and in the case of biodynamic farming, following the lunar cycle for the vineyard work.

However, being certified as organic or biodynamic doesn’t apply to techniques or products that the winemaker may use to transform the grapes into wine. That’s where the term ‘natural’ comes in; it means that the winemaker minimizes intervention and manipulation during the winemaking process as much as possible so that the finished product is a reflection of the terroir (the soil, location, and altitude as well as the climate and conditions of a particular vintage).

I’m actually certified organic, but I don’t bother putting it on the labels on my wines. It’s more for export purposes.

I present this information to you today becasue I am attempting to gather in this e-mail the possible fragments that have convened to create this unbelievable wine.

Buy a bottle! That is the most important message I can convey. If you tried to convince me to buy a $30 bottle of Sicilian wine I would struggle with the idea, that’s just where I am in my understanding of such things but trust me, this is why we created The Wine Guild in the first place, to find ‘off the radar’ gems like this that renew our faith in why we drink wine in the first place.

Drinking wine isn’t really a necessity; why bother drinking it if it doesn’t create energy or an emotion? -Arianna Occhipinti

There is nothing in your life right now for $30 that is as important to your spiritual and aesthetic development as this wine is.

Trust me here, you will be rewarded for your efforts.

2009 Occhipinti Siccagno Nero D’Avola IGT Rosso
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $29.13 • Premier Cru: $27.86 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $49.99
Buy Now!

Comments are closed.