2016 Arianna Occhipinti, Il Frappato, Terre SiciIiane I.G.T. Rosso, Sicily, Italy.
One of the wine world’s most exciting producers and wines, Arianna Occhipinti’s Il Frappato is a natural wine icon and her signature wine made from her estate vines in the Vittoria region of Sicily. The 2016 Il Frappato is exotically spiced and beautifully textured with intriguing complexity in a medium bodied red wine that shows lively layering with pretty floral notes, earthiness and a lovely texture. The nose starts with red berries, an interesting mix of wild herbs and Asian spice including hints of curry leading to a refined palate of raspberry, strawberry, plum and lingonberry fruits that feels silken, like Pinot, but still vividly terroir driven and unique to Occhipinti. Air brings things more together and adds a touch of mineral, kirsch, savory elements and a long echoing finish, this is a wine that thrills more with cuisine than on its own, though it is very flexible with food choices. Arianna, who is an artist and a poet when it comes to her wines, loves to quote verse like one of her favorites “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” a phrase by Saint-Exupery, she says it has inspired her and has always guided her efforts as winegrower.
The Frappato is grown on the red sandstone and chalky (limestone) soils that are the hallmark on this side of the Island at just under 900 feet of elevation with an average vine age of 40 years, which shows in the subtle concentration of flavors and the energy of holistic farming approach that Arianna employs. According to her cellar notes the Il Frappato sees a long maceration with 50 days of skin maceration, with 100% indigenous yeasts for fermentation with absolutely no additions or manipulation and very low sulfur if any. The is always a charm and personality that mirrors Occhipinti in her wines, they are singular and authentic without flashy adornment, like this dark ruby/garnet Il Frappato that shows ultra transparency, coming from traditional aging, it saw 14 months in large neutral Slovenian Oak barrels. The unfiltered and all organic Il Frappato, that comes in at 13% natural alcohol, like Cru Beaujolais, really turns on the detail with a slight chill in glass and can be enjoyed with a range of dishes, this is hard stuff to find, but should not be missed when available! Occhipinti started making wine professionally at the age of 21 and even before that it was always in her dreams, and her wines reflect her hard work, her respect for her land and ancestors and each vintage brings more to the table for us to cherish.
($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive