The wines of COS, Sicily 
Superb natural wines from Vittoria


Giusto Occhipinti, one of the founders and owners of COS

COS are an exciting natural winery in the Vittoria region of Sicily. Located in the south east corner of the island, Vittoria is the home to the only Sicilian DOCG, Cerasuaolo di Vittoria, which brings together the Nero d’Avola and Frappato varieties to make a really elegant, fresh, expressive red.

COS began life when three school friends from Vittoria, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia Strano, decided to start playing with grapes from their parents’ vineyards in 1980. Things grew, and after an ill-advised flirtation with new barriques, they realized that their terroirs were giving them something special, and that it the grapes needed to be handled naturally in the cellar.

Now, as well as using mainly older barrels, they are also famous for the fact that they use 400 litre clay amphorae, sunk into the ground, for some of their red and white wine fermentations. They make a range of wines, and pretty much everything here is of interest.  


COS Ramí Bianco 2008
12.5% alcohol. A blend of Grecanico and Insolia fermented in stainless steel. Powerful, nutty, intense nose with some herb-tinged, rich nutty pear fruit. The palate is rounded and complex with lovely balance. Satisfying and quite rich. 90/100 (£10.95)

COS Pithos Bianco 2008
100% Grecanico, aged in amphora. Yellow/orange coloure. Complex, taut, nutty, spicy palate with savoury, mineral notes. Powerful and broad with dried apricot, spice and nut flavours. 93/100 (£13.95)

COS Frappato 2008
Fermented in stainless steel, this is a varietal Frappato. Pale colour. Beautifully perfumed with fresh cherry fruit and herbs. The palate is sappy and elegant with bright fruit and lovely acidity. So fresh and pure. 92/100 (£10.95)

COS Nero di Lupo 1008
This is a varietal Nero d’Avola aged in stainless steel. Sweet, ripe and cherryish with a bit of warmth and spice on the nose. There’s some earthy depth on the palate and nice spiciness. Elegant and warm. 91/100 (£11.80)

COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico 2007
Warm spicy nose is quite intense. The palate shows elegant fresh cherry fruit with spicy, earthy depth. So elegant and warm, but pure, also. Delicious and mineral. 92/100 (£12.95)

COS Pithos Rosso 2008
This is the same blend as the Cerasuolo, but it’s fermented in amphorae. Superbly elegant, subtly meaty cherry fruit nose. Floral. The palate is profound: elegant pure and mineral with lovely spice and earth notes. Some complexity, and a bit of tannic structure. 94/100 (£13.60)

COS Syre 2005
100% Nero d’Avola, from low yielding old vines. Warm, rich tawny Port-style nose. The palate is soft, complex and mature with spice and earth notes. Quite elegant. Soft, long and broad with amazing depth. 92/100

COS Maldafrica 2007
Cabernet and Merlot with a splash of Nero. Sweet, slightly volatile nose with liqueur-like cherry fruit. The palate is fruity, sweet and pure with cherries and a tannic, spicy edge. 88/100

Wines tasted 04/10

See also:

Visiting Planeta, one of Sicily's top producers

Published 12/10  
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