Another quick review of a new vintage of one of my favourite Sicilian red wines. Cos Pithos Rosso 2015 from Vittoria, made biodynamically from Nero d Avola and Frappato, fermented in Amphorae, and bottled with minimal sulphur additions.
At COS, Giusto Occhipinti’s Pithos Bianco and Pithos Rosso are named after the 400 litre giare or pithos that are buried in the floor of the winery. The white, pure Grecanico, is redolent of wild herbs, whilst the red is an appealingly earthy morello cherry-scented Cerasuolo-style blend.
Some may wonder what exactly is my fascination with amphorae wines? To be honest, I ask myself the same question regularly. But I think I can confidently surmise it’s got something to do with the extra effort and passion required to want to use these ancient, historical vessels to make wine when stainless steel is plentiful; Also the extra complex earthy, savoury dimension that amphorae impart on the wines fermented inside them, if done properly with precision and an eye for cleanliness.
Tasting Note: Brilliant, bright ruby translucent colour. Nose is complex, rich, deep and intricate. Strands of earthy black cherry, violets, red plums and peanut brittle are interwoven with stewed plums, black berry crumble and an earthy, savoury, wild forest berry underlay. This 12 Abv. wine is lush, dense, but boldy vibrant and fresh on the palate, with tannins that are slightly chalky, slightly peppery, and slightly salty. All the earthy fruit notes of black plum, pithy cherry and strawberry compote are wrapped up tightly, seamlessly, with a pleasing red fruit infused herbal tea finish. A wine bursting with energy that I really want to drink. Super amphorae effort! (Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Guiseppe Rinaldi’s history goes back five generations to the late 19th century, when his family and so many others sold the fruit of their vineyards to the Falletti family. The first Rinaldi winery, still running today under Luciano Rinaldi, was acquired in 1870 from the Falletti’s estate manager, and in the 1920s Giuseppe Rinaldi, grandfather of the current owner, established his own estate with vineyards in Barolo’s best sites… Cannubi, Brunate, Le Coste, and Ravera.
Giuseppe’s son Battista later took over the winery and developed their cellar techniques in order to refine wine quality further. When he passed away in 1992 his son, also named Giuseppe, left his career as a vet to carry on the family work in the winery.
When I visited the winery last year in 2015, Beppe’s daughter Marta kindly hosted us and presented all the estates current releases. The winery just oozes character, the best of everything that’s traditional and authentic about Barolo, one of the greatest appellations in the world.
Tasting Note: This sexy wine displays a beautiful blood red ruby colour. The name on the label elicits numerous emotions but also an expectation of traditional classism and an element of rusticity. The nose is very expressive with red cherry fruits, sweet black plum, earthy forest floor, dusty chalk and a pronounced truffle oil and earthy beetroot complexity. The palate is sleek, vibrant, energetic with wonderfully fleshy, trufflely, red forest berry fruits. There are layers of gravelly minerality, graphite and dry aniseed root nuanced powdery tannins and hints of salty red liquorice. An extra accessibility with exceptional depth of fruit gives drinkers a suggestion of things to come with Beppe’s Barolo 2013s. A wonderful vintage that can’t be far behind 2010 in stature. Drink now to 2024+ (Wine Safari Score: 92+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)