2018 COS Frappato
Region: Vittoria > Sicily > Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic farming with some biodynamics, limestone soil under red clay, fermented and aged in concrete, 300m elevation, 15-year-old vines; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Giusto OcchipintiThe Sicilian vineyards of Etna may get all the fame, but the unsung glory goes to Vittoria, hands down, and specifically to Frappato. In a region where summer temps can often hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or more) it incomprehensibly produces a light-bodied, easy-drinking red that refreshes just like a Beaujolais. And if you know Frappato, you know Cos. A partnership between three friends, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Cirino Strano, they are the OG producer in Vittoria (the initials of their last names spell COS) and their founding in 1980 re-framed the discussion on Sicilian wine. It showed the rest of the world that quality wine could be made here and the terroir was good for more than just the mass agriculture more typical of the region. COS broke even more barriers by never using chemicals on the soils, certifying as organic, and now using some biodynamic treatments which they prepare themselves. And naturally, because the vines are treated so well, they make some damn good wine. Although she’s an easy drinker, the COS Frappato is by no means a simple wine. Plenty of fruit at the core so if you stopped there, the wine would still be delicious, but further tasting reveals herbal and floral notes that become clear only on the finish. Perfect with winter seafood dishes (even shellfish!), but equally good with a hearty stew or garlic-heavy dish.