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Siccagno & shut up

Occhipinti 2009 Nero d’Avola “Siccagno” (Sicily) – Everyone has their dirty secrets, and here’s mine: a plurality of the time, I prefer this wine to her frappato. Why such heresy? Because this one is almost never intrusively volatile, and because the occasionally-present hint of brett (in both wines) melds better with nero d’avola than it does with frappato. (In fact, I usually prefer her Tami frappato to her eponymous one, and for similar reasons.) But enough about the wine that this isn’t. What about the wine that it is? The very transparency that makes the frappato – oh dear, here I go again – so compelling is what’s brought to this often-opaque grape, to its great benefit. It’s still a big, muscular, dark, powerdy-dirt wine…but that’s not all it is. Frankly, it’s a work of somewhat mad genius, or (perhaps more appropriately given the personality of the winemaker) wickedly joyous genius. Is it the “best” nero d’avola one could ever have? Probably not, but mind: a good part of it’s appeal is that it’s not trying to be, either. (8/12)

Heavy sunscreen

Occhipinti 2009 “SP68” Rosso (Sicily) – Nero d’avola & frappato. This is my favorite of all Occhipinti’s wines to show to people for the first time, due to a varietal pairing that offers qualities both affable and serious (and, it must be said, a much lower instance of random volatile acidity spikes). There’s fun, strawberryish fruit and there’s darker, moodier, silt-and-bark “fruit” carrying the structure along with it, and the combination is captivating. (12/11)

Viva Arianna (a/k/a VA)

Occhipinti “Alea Viva” 2009 Lazio Rosso (Lazio) – There’s too much volatile acidity for me to really enjoy this wine, but for those less sensitive to nail polish remover as a beverage, there’s a fizzy sort of black’n’blue berry soda quality to the wine that’s a lot of fun. It’s intense, it’s in fact very nearly impossible to ignore, but it manages to play pretty well with food. Food slathered with a sauce based on ethyl acetate, though. (12/11)

Summer of ’68

Occhipinti 2010 “SP68” Bianco (Sicily) – Sweaty (good sweat) crystalline stone fruit and flowers. Heavy, but sitting atop a strong updraft. It’s a little difficult to get to know, but maybe a few more dates are required. (7/11)

One more

Occhipinti 2008 “SP68” (Sicily) – Outrageously drinkable. Quaffable, even. Gluggable. Slurpable. Etc., etc., etc. Were it about half the cost, I’d request that this be piped into my house in lieu of public water. Pure liquid joy. (9/10)

My kind of town, Siccagno is

Occhipinti 2006 “Siccagno” Nero d’Avola (Sicily) – Fecal. Crystalline black raspberry soda, with an earthy texture later on. It’s a “pretty” wine, despite the funk, and I like it a great deal, though I wouldn’t serve it to the brett-averse. (4/09)

Massachusetts milkshake

Occhipinti 2006 Il Frappato (Sicily) – Red and black raspberries, a touch of volatile acidity, and a nudge of brett. Very pointed and angular. A fun, sprightly wine with zing and zip (though watch those prickly biochemical issues), and one that slashes and hacks through food in a most enjoyable way. This is a very different wine than the one I tasted a year ago, and I don’t know whether to blame evolution or deviation. Or both. In this incarnation, however, an important caveat: it’s not really worth its tariff, which is significant. (2/09)

Nero fiddled

Occhipinti 2006 Siccagno Nero d’Avola (Sicily) – Fennel fronds, crumbled tar, pomegranate, and layers of soil. I’ve never tasted anything like this. But we’re not done, either; there’s espresso bean, licorice, and gorgeous black fruit as well. Fascinating. Every time I go back to the glass, there’s something else to discover. This may have the best acid balance of any wine I’ve ever tasted, which gives the wine a soda-like intensity of tactility that marries perfectly with the rich tapestry of aromatics. It practically buzzes with electricity. Beautiful. Just beautiful. (1/08)

Pinocchio & frappato

Occhipinti 2006 Il Frappato (Sicily) – Terrific soil aromatics, huge (but ripe) acidity, red strawberry-dominated fruit and red apple skins. Flowers, too. Long, building, and incredibly impressive. Great wine, and still in the first flush of its youth. (1/08)