COS is an organic estate winery in the Vittoria sub-region of south east Sicily. COS was founded in 1980 when three school friends from Vittoria called Giambattista Cilia (“Titta”), Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia Strano started making wine from their families’ vineyards. COS is an acronym of their surnames. They also had other careers, Giambattista Cilia and Giusto Occhipinti as architects, and Giuseppina Strano as a social worker. This helped them fund and design the building of their own winery.
ORGANIC CERTIFICATION Yes
WINEMAKING The owners started by following the trend of oak barrels, buying used ones (eg. from Angelo Gaia) in the early 1980s, gravitating to new ones when funds permitted, and then going back to basics when they realised their wines tasted of ‘international from nowhere’ rather than expressions of Vittoria. Now the winemaking is in a mix of cement vats, older wooden barrels and vats, and from 2000 terracotta amphorae or ‘giare’ sourced from Spain (250-litre and 400-litre) which are buried in the ground (see the ‘Pithos’ wine below).
RAMI BIANCO 2014 Inzolia and Grecanio. Wire-trained (not bush) vines. A few hours of skin contact in the press. Juice run off and fermented in stainless steel. Bright, clear lemon-almond flavours at Vinitaly 11 April 2016. 2010 Nice, almost musk and mineral, interesting soft yellow apple at the Natural Wine Fair, Borough Market 15-17 May 2011.
PITHOS BIANCO Grecanico fermented on skins in amphora or giare, also known as pithos which are buried in the floor of the winery. 2009 Deep straw colour. Broad, ripe, clean savoury, earthy-tannic apricot flavours at the Natural Wine Fair, Borough Market 15-17 May 2011. 2014 100% Grecanico. Lovely finely delineated acacia fruit with a prickle of carbon dioxide when tasted at Vinitaly 11 April 2016.
COS, CERASUOLO DI VITTORIA CLASSICO DOCG 2009 Lovely elegant fresh cherry fruit when tasted at the Natural Wine Fair, Borough Market 15-17 May 2011. 2013 60% Nero d’Avola, 40% Frappato. Cement and wooden vats. 13% alcohol. Savoury sour cherry tannins, nicely crunchy when tasted at Vinitaly 11 April 2016.
CONTRADA Red wine.
FRAPPATO 2010 Frappato. Stainless steel. Nice plum fruit, light and elegant at the Natural Wine Fair, Borough Market 15-17 May 2011.
MALDAFRICA Cabernet-Merlot based blend, plus some Nero d’Avola.
NERO DI LUPO 2014 Nero d’Avola. Fermented and aged in cement tanks. Fresh, fruity, good restaurant wine when tasted at Vinitaly 11 April 2016. 2009 Terre Siciliane Rosso Nero d’Avola. Lovely red fruit at the Natural Wine Fair, Borough Market 15-17 May 2011.
PITHOS ROSSO See above for the origin of the name. 2000 Debut vintage, aged in amphora. 2013 40% Frappato, 60% Nero d’Avola. Fermented in amphora or ‘pithos’. Around 7-9 months on skins. Nice and sappy when tasted at Vinitaly 11 April 2016.
SYRE Nero d’Avola. 1970s vines = low yielding. Tufa-rich soil.
CONTACT AZIENDA AGRICOLA COS, S.P. 3 Acate-Chiaramonte, Km. 14,500 / I-97019 Vittoria (RG = Ragusa), Italy / Tel+39 (0)932.876145 / www.cosvittoria.com