Occhipinti Sicilia Bianco 2010

Him: how will I know I am in Istanbul if I cannot see ?

Her: you will smell the sea, hear the call to prayers, the cries of seagulls …. ( Thank you, F 🙂 )

Sometimes I think, as did Judy Collins about clouds (Both Sides Now), that I really don’t know wine at all.

occhipinti-sicilia-biancoTransported by Arianna Occhipinti’s Sicilia Bianco 2010, I sit, eyes closed, unable to see, smelling the sea, hearing cries of seagulls sounding very much like the opening notes of Bon Iver’s lovely cover of a Bonnie Raitt tune.

The power of wine to conjure memory and emotion, to transport us, remains to me a beautiful mystery.

Nonetheless, I remain gratefully willing to go.

Tasting Notes:

A personality of ocean-like calm intensity. Scents of shore grass, lemon, honey, herb and perspiration seem to capture the bittersweet saline perfume which clings to your skin after a day at the seaside. Light in the mouth, yet structured, finishes with a subtle sensation of tannin-laced minerals. Intriguing, fascinating, charming. Let it be said: Arianna Occhipinti continues to raise the bar for natural wines.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Totally enjoyed this wine with Pacific salmon, couscous with petite peas and onion, spinach with garlic / olive oil. ( See Related Post for other food ideas . )

Related Post: Two Wines from Arianna Occhipinti

Nusserhof “Elda” 2009

p10200951Nusserhof “Elda” 2009, Vino da Tavola

I loosen the cowhide gloves and rest a splitting axe against my hip. Two and one half cords of wood are split and stacked. A flock of noisy geese break the quiet. The smell of wood smoke tells me my wife has fired up the soapstone stove.

I have done enough today.

Inside, there is polenta cooking, the fire is warm, and I am ready eat. I give the polenta a stir and head downstairs for a good bottle, returning with Nusserhof Elda.

The Nusserhof estate is tucked away in Bolzano of the South Tyrol aka Italy’s Alto Adige. ( This largely bilingual area (German / Italian ) has an interesting political history if you are inclined to research.)

Nusserhof, which has reportedly been working vines since the end of the 1700’s, tends 2.5 hectares in addition to the small plot of old vine Schiava which has sourced Elda.

Tasting Notes:

Pure berries, mountain flowers and a touch of minty alpine freshness. Good intensity in the mouth with suggestions of meat jerky, finishing with medicinal herb and wood smoke. Smooth, earthy power, incredible purity and a lightness that reminds me of good French Pinot Noir. For me, one of the year’s most expressive and memorable wines.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

We loved this Vino da Tavola served with polenta and butter, cheese, sour cream, cabbage and mushrooms topped with rich brown gravy; wild walnuts served with wedges of parmesan cheese; Valrhona dark chocolate.
Dishes that benefit from the smokiness of bacon or speck would be a sensational pairing: for example, bacon-flecked bread dumplings and gravy, or risotto with asparagus and speck.