Wine of the Week: 3/18/11

2009 Arianna Occhipinti Sp68 Igt Sicilia Bianco

 


2009 Arianna Occhipinti Sp68 Igt Sicilia Bianco (Albanello/Zibbibo)
Is this the best white wine I've had in years? Yes, and maybe. I can honestly say I've not drank as much of any white wine in years and years as I recently drank of Arianna Occhipinti's new SP68 Bianco. This is an unusual wine: a blend of Mosacato and the little known Albanello. It has no DOC, and may be tough to fit into the paradigms of Italy's white wines, unless one thinks of the experiments of Friuli. Though in Friuli many wines continue to resemble experiments, this on the other hand is as complete and exciting as any white wine I've ever had.

Let's be clear here. This is not the most powerful, richest, most complex, or ageworthy white wine in the world. It's frankly tannic, and has the unmistakable slightly wild quality of a natural wine, but at the same time it is complex, and it is rich, and it is balanced. And I like a little tannin in my wine, so what's not to like? Nothing.

On the nose there are ever-changing scents of melon, golden tomato, capers, white flowers, green tea and a deep, almost gamy note of culatello. On the palate, the acidity is bright with that touch of powdery tannin awakening the tastebuds. The melony green apple fruit is streaked with mineral, green tea and subtle honey notes that lead to a bracingly refreshing, cleansing finish that absolutely invites each subsequent sip.

After all that, you might expect an explosive score, but in absolutes it merits about 91 points. 91 points is obviously an excellent score, but one that fails to capture my enthusiasm for this wine. In fact, the drinkability of this wine has motivated me to reexamine exactly how I score wines. I'll be publishing an overview of that change, but the short story is from now on I'll be offering a qualitative as well as a personal preference score for wines. In this case, the wine merits 91pts qualitatively but I give it a Bevebilita (drinkability in Italian) score of 100. The average of the two, 96pts, is my GDP score.

I know it's confusing, but I'll explain it all soon. For now, buy this wine. It is not profound; you will not ponder it all day, it is exuberant, you will hope it never ends. 91pts(91+100Bv)=96pts 
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