Arianna Occhipinti
Beautiful naturally made wines from Vittoria in Sicily, Italy


Arianna Occhipinti says that her love for wine was sparked when at the age of 16 she went with her uncle (Giusto Occhipinti of COS) to Vinitaly, the large wine show in Verona. It prompted her to study oenology at university in Milan. There, she was distressed to find the emphasis on chemistry and laboratory work, at odds with the more natural winemaking she had learned from her uncle. This wasn’t what had prompted her to fall in love with wine. For her, it was about farming: the vines.

In her early 20s, she began making wines in her home area of Vittoria, Sicily. Frappato amazed her: a grape capable of making floral, elegant reds, so different from the big, ripe overpowering Nero d’Avolas that had so far defined Sicilian wine. She decided her style would be one of finesse and elegance and perfume over power. Her first vintage (2004) was released in 2006 when she was just 24. At the time she had just one hectare of vines.

In 2011 she purchased a 23 hectare farm with 7 hectares of vines, as well as other crops. It had been farmed organically for 15 years. Currently, her vine holdings are 22 hectares of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, and a hectare and a half of white grapes (Albanello and Zibbibo [aka Muscat di Alessandria]).

These are exemplary wines, naturally made, and showing finesse and interest.


Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2015 Sicily, Italy
15 days on skins for this Albanello/Zibibbo (Muscat) blend. Beautifully aromatic and floral. Grape and citrus notes with a palate that's fruity, terpenic and very pretty and pure. 93/100 (04/16)

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco 2013 Sicily, Italy
A blend of 50 Zibibbo and 50% Albanello, this spends 7 days on skins and then goes to concrete tanks. Beautifully aromatic: grapey, fresh and fine with a linear, pure palate with notes of grape and citrus pith. Nicely grippy. 92/100 (04/14)

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2015 Sicily, Italy
Lovely aromatics here: pure and bright with elegant, fine cherries and plums. Very pretty. Bright and floral with crunchy raspberry notes. 93/100 (04/16)

Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2013 Sicily, Italy
70% Frapatto, 30% Nero d’Avola, 10–15 days on skins and then 6 months in stainless steel. Vivid colour. Lovely pure, floral nose is very fine. Fresh, pure, vivid palate with pretty cherry fruit and some grip. Very pure. 93/100 (04/14)

Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato 2014 Sicily, Italy
This is from older vineyards of around 45 years age, a mixture of guyot pruning and albarello (bush vine). 30–35 days maceration and 14 months in 25 hectolitre slavonian oak barrels. Vibrant with fine spices on the nose. Lively and a bit peppery with lovely texture. Spicy, fine and expressive with detailed grippy structure. A beautiful wine with edges. 94/100 (04/16)

Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato 2012 Sicily, Italy
This is from older vineyards of around 45 years age, a mixture of guyot pruning and albarello (bush vine). 30–35 days maceration and 14 months in 25 hectolitre slavonian oak barrels. So perfumed and fine with expressive red cherry fruit and interesting herby notes. Very pure and elegant with lovely finesse. 94/100 (04/14)

Arianna Occhipinti Grotte Alte 2010 Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily, Italy
40 year old vines, 40 days on skins, 4 years in large 25 hl oak barrels. Fresh, elegant, supple cherry and berry fruits, with lovely purity and a spicy, mineral undercurrent. 93/100 (10/14)

Arianna Occhipinti Siccagno Nero d’Avola 2011 Sicily, Italy
35 year old bush vines, 40 days on skins, 16 months 25 hl large oak. Meaty, spicy, earthy edge to the fresh cherry and berry fruit. Quite grippy and structured with nice freshness and purity. 93/100 (10/14)

UK agent: Les Caves de Pyrene 

See also:

The wines of COS, Sicily
Vino di Anna, Sicily
Frank Cornelissen, Sicily
Visiting Planeta in Sicily


Wines tasted 04/14, 10/14 and 04/16  
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