You need this in your life: Occhipinti SP68 Rosso
There are people in the wine world who have become heroes of the natural wine movement. Marcel Lapierre, Frank Cornelissen, Chris Brockway, Milan Nasterec, and a handful of others who’s wines are now sought after the world over by the hippest of wine hipsters. These people are helping to make natural wine a household term, a mainstream concept that speaks for process over production, for place over points. There is one winemaker who is blowing all of these dudes out of the water with her incredible wines. In fact she has been one of the hottest winemakers in the world for almost ten years now and if you have not heard of her yet, well, we are happy to introduce you.
If you want to get to know Ariana Occhipinti then you should know her SP68 wines. Her SP68 Rosso and SP68 Bianco are more typical of Sicilian wines, but with Ariana’s flair for delicious, honest, natural wines. Her attitude towards winemaking is refreshing, even amongst the current trend of exciting winemakers who are challenging the status quo. Acting as both the viticulturist and winemaker of her estate she has a full, rounded philosophy that has deep roots in her uncle’s influence. Her uncle just happens to be Giusto Occhipinti, the “O” in COS, one of Sicily’s most revered wineries. Though she dislikes the term “natural wine,” something she feels can be restrictive, she admits that her militant attitude towards it has shifted. Today her mission is driven by making wines that are an expression of terroir, and the best way to achieve that is by making wines in a natural process.
It is no surprise then that her Sicilian blends carry the name SP68. They are named after the road that runs next to the winery, a road in Sicily that has existed in one form or another for over 3,000 years beginning life as a narrow stone path. Throughout its history it has helped many winemakers bring their wines to the Sicilian coast. Today its namesake wines are bringing Sicily’s brightest wines to the world.
That famous road eventually found its way to my glass, as it does for may other wine lovers who seek out interesting wines. From the first sip I fell in love. I often preach the belief that a great wine, no matter its origin, should grab your heart and never let go. The Occhipinti SP68 Rosso stole mine and refuses to come back with it. I had heard tale of this wine, a colleague had praised it, my mentors had championed it, and any wine shop in the world who knew anything about good natural wines was carrying it. By comparison, not everybody was carrying Broc Cellars, or Frank Cornellissen, or Nestarec. Clearly the Occhipinti SP68 was something exceptional, something worth knowing.
In the SP68 Rosso I found a wine that had a magical property. The deep roots of the dry farmed (no irrigation) vines betray what the typical characteristics of a warm climate wine. Yes, the SP68 Rosso has a great deal of fruit, but those vines are battling the elements and their resulting wines find poise, grace, and balance. There is a great deal of class in every sip, but also a brightness that runs through its very core. This makes for one of those wines that will suit your every mood, your every occasion, and delight you on any and every level. The lighter body of the wine is supremely crushable which makes for a real refreshing glou glou treat. What makes this wine so interesting is a typical Sicilian blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola. The Frappato brings bright red fruits to the table, while the Nero d’Avola adds spice and structure, together they work well to create a drink that is simultaneously relaxed and complex at the same time. The SP86 Rosso is a great wine you could drink anytime, anywhere, and just enjoy what is going on around you. These are the wines I fight so hard to seek out, and this wine is the best of all them.
To accept means to respect
In truth the SP68 Rosso is but a mere introduction to Ariana Occhipinti’s brilliance. Her single varietal Frappato and Nero d’Avola have pushed both varietals into delicious new frontiers. As Ariana says herself, “The first thought that I've learned from wine making it was to accept. Accept the diversity of soils, the slope of the ground, the altitude, and the originality of a vineyard. To accept means to respect. To respect the earth and its balance. Respect the vineyard with skillful gestures of a sensitive agriculture To respect the fermentation through the use of local yeasts. Respect the wine as if it was a person. A person who takes with him/her, a world, a history, an atmosphere. And it tastes like the land where it was born from.”
This is a rare wine that earns respect for its magic ability. It has a magic ability to transport you to Sicily with every note of flavor and bouquet. This is a wine that brings you closer to the earth, to the soil, and to the world around you. The SP68 Rosso is a story of place, a story that introduces us to a beautiful part of the world that asks us to accept it for what it is without imposing itself in any way. The SP68 Rosso is something you need in your life because it brings in its beauty it respects you.