On the nose, sweet notes of strawberry and black cherry are backed with hints of orange, clove and
camphor. Flavors of cherries and black currants dominate, while a fine line of crisp acidity keeps the wine
taut and cleans up the finish. Hints of wild herbs, dusty minerals and fine cocoa powder are detectable in
Strawberry, orange, clove, camphor, herbs and cocoa.
COS is the remarkable project of former schoolmates Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia
Strano who started making wine together in 1980 from Sicilian vineyards they rented from their parents.
The wines were originally made for the founders’ own enjoyment but have become some of the island’s
most respected. The wine appellation where COS farms is called Cerasuolo di Vittoria, meaning the
“cherry-like wine of Vittoria,” a coastal town in the southeast corner of Sicily near the ancient cities of
Modica and Siracusa. Breezes off the Mediterranean moderate the hot climate, and calcareous and silica
soils interwoven with veins of clay and tufa give the vines a stable, well-draining environment. Cerasuolo is
based on dark Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s most famous native grape, and Frappato, a lesser-known variety that
offers gorgeous high-toned aromatics and a light, supple structure. The blend of the two wines yields
freshness and energy.
While the wine is light enough to pair with rich fish dishes, its fine acidity and light tannins call for more
robust fare. Flavorful but leaner meats like pork leg, veal and poultry will stand up to this red’s structure
and bring out its softer side. Game like duck or rabbit will match the wine’s earthy, brambly accent, as will
root vegetables, mushrooms and legumes. For something simple, try my Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with
Grilled Mushroom Vinaigrette.
Some producers age wine in large oak casks, while others prefer small oak barrels (barriques). Then there are
the partners at COS, who ferment and age their bottlings in amphorae, the ancient vessels made from terra
cotta that are modeled after the same pots used by the Greeks more than 2,000 years ago.