COS Cerasuolo Di Vittoria.

COSMost of the time I allow the WINEDAR to take the lead, but sometimes I know exactly where I want to go to get myself a great bottle of wine.  Such is the case in this week’s Griffy on Wine.

The poem Desiderata suggests that we go “placidly into the world….” and I’ve tried.  However, the world is becoming a very dark and threatening place, I’m getting more and more  disillusioned by its violence, lack of enlightenment, it’s sham and drudgery.  I’m home sick.

So, I punched in 36 degrees 57 minutes North, 14 degrees 32 minutes East on the WINEDAR, and all you sailors out there know where we are: Vittoria, Sicily.

I’m here for some comfort wine.  COS is located here, the vineyard founded by three friends who had nothing to do before college started so they harvested a couple tons of Nero d’Avola, crushed the grapes with their feet, fermented it in an old cement vat, corked 1400 bottles and sold it in one of the kids’ Grandfather’s wine shop in Palermo.  The rest as they say is history, two of the friends are still running the business that now produces 200,000 bottles a year.  It’s amazing what a little free time can produce.

Our wine is COS Cerasuolo Di Vittoria.  The wine is a traditional Sicilian blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato.  It’s the Frappato grape that has attracted me here, because I hadn’t heard of it before.  As near as any DNA test can find Frappato is related to Sangiovese, but they have found at least 10 other unidentified matches as well.  Hey, this is Sicily!

Cerasuolo means Cherry, which is the color of the wine and the predominant flavor.  The Frappato adds the aromatics–you guessed it, Cherry–and a little acidity to the wine.  The result is a medium-bodied wine that tastes great and makes you feel like putting your feet up to relax safe at home.  This is the first Sicilian wine with it’s own DOCG.  Some wines are aged in large oak casks, some in small oak barrigues.  At COS, they ferment and age their wine in amphorae made from terracotta, same as the Greeks did 2000 years ago.

But the story continues: there is a new star in Sicilian wines and her name is Arianna Occhipinit, who happens to be the niece of the the “O” in COS, Giusto Occhipiniti.  Arianna started by making 2,000 bottles of Frappato wine from grapes on the family farm in 2004, now 11 years later she has a 14,000 square foot winery, exporting to 25 countries about 110,000 bottles a year. See, it’s true what they say about Sicilian women, they are more serious than a shotgun!

It’s amazing what passion can do for you.  These wines are terrific, please give them a try, you’ll be happy you did, and I promise you will not be home sick anymore!

If your heart is warm with happiness you’ll need  a glass, if sorrow chills your heart , have two!


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