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Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2017

Other Red Blends from Sicily, Italy
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    #7 wine in VinePair's Top 50 of 2018

    Named for the road going past the winery, SP68 is a blend of Nero d'Avola and Frappato. This is a perfect balance of power and finesse; the Nero imparts rich dark fruits and the Frappato adds a high-toned raspberry note.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Arianna Occhipinti

    Arianna Occhipinti

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    Arianna Occhipinti, Sicily, Italy
    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.

    A large, geographically and climatically diverse island, just off the toe of Italy, Sicily has long been recognized for its fortified Marsala wines. But it is also a wonderful source of diverse, high quality red and white wines. Steadily increasing in popularity over the past few decades, Italy’s fourth largest wine-producing region is finally receiving the accolades it deserves and shining in today's global market.

    Though most think of the climate here as simply hot and dry, variations on the sun-drenched island range from cool Mediterranean along the coastlines to more extreme in its inland zones. Of particular note are the various microclimates of Europe's largest volcano, Mount Etna, where vineyards grow on drastically steep hillsides and varying aspects to the Ionian Sea. The more noteworthy red and white wines that come from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna include Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (whites). All share a racy streak of minerality and, at their best, bear resemblance to their respective red and white Burgundies.

    Nero d’Avola is the most widely planted red variety, and is great either as single varietal bottling or in blends with other indigenous varieites or even with international ones. For example, Nero d'Avola is blended with the lighter and floral, Frappato grape, to create the elegant, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, one of the more traditional and respected wines of the island.

    Grillo and Inzolia, the grapes of Marsala, are also used to produce aromatic, crisp dry whites. Pantelleria, a subtropical island belonging to the province of Sicily, specializes in Moscato di Pantelleria, made from the variety locally known as Zibibbo.

    Other Red Blends

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    With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

    FRMLD96109_2017 Item# 506917