Azienda Agricola Cos Cerasuolo Di Vittoria Classico 2008

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How exciting it is for a wine like this to be in British Columbia. Cos is not only an icon of the ‘natural wine’ movement, but it is an exceptional producer that is making some of the most exciting wines in Sicily.

Natural Wine or Just a Great Producer?

Natural wine has consistently been a galvanizing force for debate about the nature and purpose of wine. Commercial viability, faults, ideology, and ethics all come out to play when a natural wine hits the glass.

Often those in this debate can lose sight of a simple reality for all wine: it is producer more than philosophy or technique that makes great wine. Great grapes and terroir are also necessary, but it is the endless minute decisions made in the vineyard and the cellar that ultimately make a wine what it is. This means that in natural wine, just as with all wine, there will be those producers that make wines far and above what most others are doing. For me, Cos is one of those producers.

COS – So Hot Right Now

Founded in 1980 by three partners – Giambattista Cilia, Cirino Strano and Giusto Occhipinti, whose daughter has started her own much adored eponymous winery – COS set out to challenge what had become ‘conventional’ winemaking in Sicily’s only DO “Cerasuolo Di Vittoria” first by farming completely biodynamically, and second by steadily increasing the use of clay amphora for fermentation of their wines. The amphora fermented wines bear the name “Pithos”.

COS is located on the southeastern tip of Sicily and as such the climate is both hot and dry. Despite this, the wines bear a lightness and elegance that belies their origins in one of the hottest climates in Italy.

Perfect Italian Wine

Alas while we do not yet have access to the amphora fermented wines in the province, this wine, fermented completely in neutral concrete, is still an excellent introduction to the COS style and philosophy. Made from 18 year old Frappato and Nero D’Avola vines grown on limestone-silicaceous and clay soils, this wine is both enticingly aromatic and very fresh and juicy on the palate. Pretty red fruits and flowers flow easily from the glass, and it is this effortlessness that is the wine’s most striking quality.

This is also a wine with a substantial medium body that will balance kindly with a wide variety of food from cured meats to lightly spicy pastas and grilled meats. It also goes great with air, as my friend Sean is fond of saying. This is also the kind of wine I would lovingly buy by the case – so don’t go running out and snapping up the small allocation this province has!

Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
$35 at BCLDB


  1. Brad
    July 3, 2011

    Hi Shea,

    What LDB locations did you see this at? No matter what part of the name I type in their (very poor) website search engine, nothing comes up. Don’t worry…I only want 2 bottles; there’ll be lots left for you.


  2. Shea
    July 4, 2011

    The search engine sucks. It is at the cambie and bute sig stores.

  3. Brad
    July 4, 2011

    Cool, thanks!

    You’d think with all the money they pillage from us with their outrageous mark-up that they’d at least be able to afford a better search engine…you know…so they could sell even more wine? Strange that they’ve never come to that conclusion on their own!

  4. Sean
    July 8, 2011

    Thanks for the write-up, Shea. This is really gorgeous for the price. It’s definitely my kind of wine. It went extremely well with both air and a grilled steak. 🙂

  5. Shea
    July 8, 2011

    Ha, thanks Sean – air really is a versatile pairing

  6. David J. Cooper
    July 18, 2011

    I agree. I had two bottles last week and aired them out for 2 hours each time. This wine is more the wieght and elegance of a wine from Etna or Valtellina then a typical Nero D’Avola like Planeta or Fuedo Machari. Excellent wine.

  7. Shea
    July 18, 2011

    I love the weight and prettiness of this wine. Agree it is more similar to a wine from Etna than typical Nero d’avola.

  8. Rayna
    July 18, 2011

    Reason you couldn’t find it in the search engine is that it was listed as ceVasuolo instead of cerasuolo. Rumour has it more is coming for the fall.

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