I find myself back in Sicily, unfortunately not in person, but courtesy of another red wine from FineWineToMe.com, a lovely looking bottle of COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico, 2014.
So as the nights draw in and the temperatures start to return to the cooler norm, I’m drawn to the many reasons I love Italy – and not just the sun. I saw in the news last week that the Italian government is planning to offer tax breaks for expats to move to their beautiful southern regions – do I dream or seriously consider as an option?! I shall cook and drink Italy and see where that takes me....
The last time I wrote about a Sicilian red, it was the Il Frappato 2014, produced by Arianna Occhipinti, in the same region of Sicily, Vittoria, the only DOCG on the island. Not only from the same area, the vineyard COS, was founded by three partners, Giambattista Cilia, Cirino Strano and Giusto Occhipinti, Giusto the uncle of Arianna. Producers in Vittoria put great emphasis on their respect of the land and importance of being the custodians of its rich history, developing biodynamic agriculture alongside ancient traditional techniques, this creates an ever-evolving wine business and a number of wine gems, in this rather hidden part of Sicily.
Contrary to the roast beef and Italian Yorkshire pudding I paired with the Il Frappato, I’m going for something that evokes memories of our hot summer; those warm London nights and the Mediterranean lifestyle we love.
The dish I’ve chosen to pair with the COS Cerasuolo, is one of Sicily’s traditional favourites, Pasta Con Le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines). When I first cooked the dish I used the recipe from the east, near Taorima, where they use tomatoes, however, I received a quietly, polite reaction from The Spaniard (my wine and food guinea pig - who normally loves all my food) ...so decided to try the version from the west, near Palermo, using fennel as the main ingredient, let’s hope I get a better reaction! The richness of sardines and anchovies combined with fried fennel and the sweetness of the raisins, make this a great dish to pair with the Cerusolo di Vittoria – red cherries and plums, with a gentle hit of vanilla, a light drink, with a medium body and rather nice lingering tastes of fruit and tobacco.
On a final note, something else caught my eye about COS, which makes a visit almost compulsory. Locanda Cos, which is an ancient villa with eight suites and rooms set within the vineyards and gardens, rooms decorated with ‘noble Sicilian accessories’ and where the wine is lovingly described as the ‘main actor’ and the primary reason for guests to visit and stay at the villa. I am sure the food is special too and firmly on the list for one of our wine and food excursions
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