COS 2020 'Pithos Bianco' Grecanico in Amphora, Vittoria, Sicily, Italy
The true OG of Italian natural wine movemment - Azienda Agricola COS was founded in 1980 by three college friends: Giambattista Cilia, Cirino Strano and Giusto Occhipinti. The acronym of their last names is where the name for the winery – COS – comes from.
Winemaker: Giusto Occhipinti
Varieties: Grecanico (AKA Garganega)
Vineyards/History: In the 1980s, three friends (Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, Cirino Strano), at the time the youngest wine producers in Italy, began a wine label in hopes to bring Sicily back to its origins. They received an old family winery from Giambattista Cilia’s father Giuseppe Cilia and the nearby vineyard of bush-trained vines. The winery follows the principles of biodynamic farming in order to help the vines find and maintain a balance with nature in order to be able to express their true character and that of their terroir.
The 2018 Pithos Bianco is made of Grecanico grapes (AKA Garganega) sourced from the estate Fontane vineyard, at about 750 feet in elevation, eith Chalky Limestone, Clay, Sandstone, Sedimentary Clay soils. For vinification, COS uses only amphora (the large terracotta vases reminiscent of what you’d find walking through the Ancient Greek wing of any history museum), which leave no traces or aromas in the wine, just as their ancient wine-making predecessors had done thousands of years before.
COS is recognized by the RAW wine organization, as an international leader in promoting natural wine producers.
Vinification: The wine is spontaneously fermented on its skins with indigenous yeast over ten to fifteen days in amphorae. It remained in contact with the skins for seven months in amphorae, followed by three months in the bottle before release. Pithos Bianco spends about 240 days on the skins in amphora. Pithos is the Greek word for amphora.
Tasting Notes: A super fresh, almost minty nose leads into a full but tense, deeply layered wine showing nice mineral definition and taught acidity. The long skin contact and amphora movement of the lees provide an additional level of complexity. This wine shows well now, but has plenty in reserve for 3-5 years of bottle aging.