Arianna Occhipinti is one of those people who makes a wine that changes your entire life. At 18 years old, I discovered the Occhipinti SP68 Rosso and it blew my eyes wide open. I remember my dad telling me, off the cuff, "yeah, she's like the superstar of the South". Even though it was probably her first vintage ever released, people kept telling me, this is the next Chiara Boschis or Elisabetta Foradori. She's going to be huge.
I was so intrigued I asked the importer if I could do work experience with her. I couldn't. I'd heard that Arianna Occhipinti was the niece of the 'O' in C.O.S, another groundbreaking minimal intervention producer from Vittoria, Sicily. Unfortunately, they had no room for me either. But they passed on my details to a friend of theirs, in Etna, which was how I ended up working there.
An uncomfortably long time has passed since then but I'll never forget that moment, and i've been coming back to her wines for years and years, trying them and falling in love with them over and over again. The wines themselves are always different, always evolving, and certainly always delicious.
"A cult wine producer in Italy with a burgeoning international following, Arianna Occhipinti farms 18 hectares of certified organically grown native grapes. She started tending two hectares of vines on her parents estate in her university days, where she was dismayed by the emphasis on chemistry and laboratory work; by contrast her uncle Giusto Occhipinti, of the well-known Sicilian COS estate, believes in natural winemaking and Arianna grew to prefer that approach to winemaking. Her wines have an earthy, almost raw quality and are more about finesse than power." IAN D'AGATA
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