The Real Wine Fair 2014 – Sicily

Tobacco Dock was bathed in sunshine during The Real Wine Fair, and I think the weather only served to fuel my infatuation with the array of fresh and bright light and medium bodied red wines on show, particularly those from Sicily – the bastion of the Real / Natural Wine movement in Italy.

Here are some of my highlights:

Arianna Occhipinti Frappato 2012: Lip-smackingly delicious. Minty fresh with bright red fruits. Really pure and clean flavours. So drinkable but with substance, depth and very, very good length.

Arianna Occhipinti Wine

COS: I could very happily drink all of COS’ wines but, true to form, it was the Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2011 and Pithos Rosso 2012 that provided the most interest. One of the writers for Intravino, the popular Italian wine blog, recently described COS’ Cerasuolo di Vittoria as Italy’s Pinot Noir. Where the 2011 Cerasuolo had a prominent savoury spice and herbal kick, the beautifully balanced 2012 Pithos (7 months maceration) managed to match the wildness with an overriding feeling of freshness and a mineral depth that truly showed what this blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato was capable of achieving. I’ve never really ‘got’ Pithos before, so this was somewhat of a revelation for me. Now that I’ve had my ‘come to Jesus moment’ with Pithos, the lingering question is whether this purity and balance is attributable to its fermentation and ageing in terracotta amphorae – Giusto Occhipinti makes a compelling argument that it’s the critical factor. More to come on that next week.


Anna Martens Vino di Anna Palmento Rosso 2012 and Qvevri Rosso 2012: A grower that I first came across at the recent Le Caveau portfolio tasting, Anna’s Etna Rosso “Jeudi 15” has started to appear in wineshops across Dublin. This was my first encounter with her other wines – a wonderful 2012 Sicilia Bianco was a highlight alongside two reds. The Palmento Rosso has 4 days skin maceration and poured a very light pink colour. Tart and aromatic with notes of balsam and lavender, it was fantastically refreshing. The Qvevri Rosso was also delightful with its perfumes of sweet flowers, herbs and red fruits.

Vini Barraco Nero d’Avola “Rosa di Mare” 2013 – I’m cheating with this one as Nino Barraco’s Nero d’Avola “Rosa di Mare”, as the name would suggest, is a rosato. Tart and fresh with no added sulphur during vinification, this was another one of those wines that had you questioning if you had heard the grape type correctly. Nino’s vineyards are in Marsala – a region with an illustrious sweet wine pedigree. His whites were delicious too – my favourite being the 2013 Grillo “Vingnamare” 2013 with its vibrant acidity and grainy minerality. Nino’s wines are definitely worth seeking out.


Links and Importers

Arianna Occhipinti – Imported in the UK by Les Caves de Pyrène

COS – Imported in Ireland by Cabot and Co. and On The Grapevine. Imported in the UK by Les Caves de Pyrène

Anna Martens – Imported in Ireland by Le Caveau and the UK by Les Caves de Pyrène

Vini Barraco – Imported in the UK by Tutto Wines