by Megan Jones

What’s up winos,

Megan here. Did ya miss me? I’m sure I missed you too, but I was a little busy living it up in Sicily to give it much thought. I wrote all about the trip here, in case you missed it. Go give her a read if you feel like being green with envy :) I, on the other hand, am just green, thanks to staff drinks last night. Someone explain why I thought it was a good idea to go from white to red then BACK to champagne? The world is a very dark place this morning. Probably because I’m wearing sunglasses indoors.

Enough about me. Let’s get back to Sicily (no seriously, let’s just go there).

First up: Arianna Occhipinti. Arianna basically put Frappato on the map – before she came around it was just seen as a blending grape, or to be used for table wine only, but Arianna wanted to produce a single varietal Frappato to be taken seriously – a quality, ageable wine. Mission accomplished, I reckon! Her Contrada wines are just something else – the Pettineo is fresh as, full of fruit and dreamy tannins, while the high limestone concentration of the Bombolieri site gives it mind-bending acidity and serious, serious energy. These are wines to be pondered over a long, long, long dinner while you put the world to rights. Arianna’s ‘entry-level’ wines, for want of a better word, are also banging. The SP68 Bianco is 100% Grillo, rich in texture but fresh and aromatic in taste. How did she do that?! The SP68 Rosso is a blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato – all the aromatics coming from the Frappato with a nice core of dark fruit coming through from the Nero. Serious complexity at a friendly price.

I’ve waxed lyrical about COS to you before, I’m sure, but now I’ve actually been to the vineyard (flex) and met Giusto himself (flexxx) I’m probably never going to shut up about them. The sheer number of cuvées they produce while not sacrificing quality for a second is mind-blowing. Check out the Rami for a multi-tasking orange – gentle enough to give to your wine neophyte friends but still complex enough to keep the more discerning minds interested. Their Frappato is just as crowd-pleasing – linear enough for the classicists but with a touch of something wild that will keep the natty-heads happy. COS sure know how to work the market. If you’re after something broodier now that it’s (allegedly) autumn, you can’t go wrong with the Nero di Lupo, all herbal, spicy, dark fruit. You essentially can’t go wrong with COS, full stop.

Perhaps my personal favourite from the trip (also perhaps because they had a swimming pool at their winery, which you may or may not agree is a legitimate reason to put them at the top of my list) was Vino di Anna, up on Mount Etna. We visited one of their vineyards and it was just the most wild, beautiful, calming place I’ve ever seen, and I think that perfectly sums up their wines – they’re elegant, classy and a little bit out there. The Bianco has minerality for days, flying under the radar at first glance but if you give it a little while it’ll creep up on you and blow your head off. The Vendredi 13 is everything that’s great about volcanic soil – a little smoky, a little weird, a lot delicious. Chuck this in the fridge and thank me later.

Gotta go, got to rinse my brain under some cold water.

Love u!