Not so long ago in the late 1990s, Arianna Occhipinti was a teenager learning the ropes of natural winemaking from her uncle, Giusto, who was one of the founding partners of COS winery–one of Sicily’s best known natural wine meccas. Shortly after this, she set off on her own and purchased a parcel of abandoned Frappato vines in Vittoria, a then-forgotten native varietal in a barely-known agrarian corner of Sicily. She set out to revitalize these vineyards on her own, with the goal of producing Frappato-based wines that speak to the region from whence they come. Fast-forward to today–her wines are among the most allocated (and most delicious) in the world of natural wine. Every year we beg for more of her wine to quench our customers’ thirst for these characterful wines and it is never enough. Happily, she recently launched Tami, a line of natural Sicilan wines, made according to her high standards, that share the characteristics with her own personal label wines that made her a vinous superstar.
Her Tami Frappato is a textbook expression of this native grape. Bursting on the nose with ripe red and blue fruits, there is a distinct herbal character that pervades the tasting experience. In some Frappatos, it expresses itself as fresh mint, oregano, or even seaweed, but in this elegant version it comes across considerably more floral. Think violet and rose. Add thirst-quenching acidity and considerable minerality and you’ve got this stunner of an everyday red. Drink this slightly cool on your next pizza night. Or, for a next-level pairing, put this up against a fatty white fish. There’s no better red wine for fish than Frappato. For a cold-weather treat, try it with our recipe for Poulet Chasseur.
Make no mistake–this wine may be a stellar value, the likes of which you’ll want to be cracking one open every night of the week–but it is made with the same attention to detail that built Arianna’s exceptional reputation. This wine is fermented only with native yeasts using hand-picked grapes from organically-farmed vines. It is aged in tank for several months to preserve freshness, and is bottled only with minimal sulfur. Vittoria is a subregion on Sicily’s southeastern coast known for its hot, dry climate. This forces vines to develop deep root systems down into the region’s sandy covered limestone soils. Its Frappatos in particular offer impressive freshness and acidity for such conditions, rivaling the best Beaujolais bottles for their drinkability and minerality.