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COS “Nero di Lupo” Nero d'Avola, Terre Siciliane IGP '22
In recent years, Sicilian wine has become perhaps the hottest category in the world of Italian wine. Maybe we can blame it on The White Lotus, the ever-popular series. While I think that is part of it, this popularity coincides with a high level of quality in the wines of various regions on the island. There has never been a better time to buy wines from Sicily than right now!
One winery that has helped elevate the perception of quality in Sicily is COS, started by three friends in the 1980s, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano. The first letter of each of their last names forms the name of the winery. Occhipinti came from a family of grape growers, and his father gave the three friends their first grapes to experiment with. Fast-forward several years, and their wines from the appellation of Cerasuolo di Vittoria have become synonymous with Sicilian wine.
Over the years, they have also championed organic and biodynamic viticulture, dry farming, vinification with natural yeast, and low levels of SO2 at press and bottling. Natural winemakers around the world have been greatly inspired by this trio.
“Nero di Lupo” is the COS expression of the indigenous variety Nero d’Avola. There is much confusion over how a wine made from Nero d’Avola should taste. Many know it as a grape that produces beefy, full-bodied reds, often with dark fruit and lots of oak spice notes. That is certainly one side of Nero d’Avola. It can also convey elegance, as in the case of this version from COS. Here, the grapes are hand-harvested from vineyards with the classic sandy soil of the region. There is limestone with layers of clay and calcareous tufa underneath, imparting the grapes with acidity and deepening their flavor. Spontaneous fermentation on the skins occurs with indigenous yeast in concrete tanks. “Nero di Lupo” ages in concrete vats for nine months, followed by three months in bottle before release.
The aromas of the 2022 “Nero di Lupo” jump out of the glass, with beautiful notes of blackberry, flowers, and savory herbs. There is a bright, juicy quality to the wine but depth and richness as well. Try it with lamb involtini, stuffed with bread crumbs, pancetta, garlic, rosemary, and Grana Padano cheese.
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