Dare I Say Sexy? 2009 Occhipinti Siccagno Nero d’Avola
I’m always a sucker for natural wines, so I find myself always looking to this certified organic producer from Sicily. Young female winemaker Arianna Occhipinti comes from quite the winemaking family. Her uncle is Guisto Occhipinti who owns Cos winery (also killer stuff). The thing that separates her wine from some of the other island producers is how fresh it is; it just reeks of elegance. The 2009 Nero d’Avola, 100 percent Nero d’Avola, is bright, tart and acidic, with dark cherry flavors. I love that I feel like I am tasting Sicily when I take each sip. A big handful of volcanic rich soil hits the mouth, but in a great way. Trust me, I wouldn’t make you drink dirt. Yet, the wine appears surprisingly soft and, dare I say…sexy? Maybe is because Arianna is not even 30 years old. The best is yet to come. Drink it, love it! We do! -Joseph Sangiovanni
Txomin Etxaniz 2010 Txakoli de Getaria
I’ve been on a whites kick lately, and there is no better white to welcome warm weather than this lightly effervescent Basque bottling. Txakoli is, traditionally, a slightly sparkling, dry Spanish white wine boasting a pale green color and served as an aperitif. A blend of two native grapes, Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza, this bottling is one of three produced by the Txueka Etxaniz family in Getaria, along the coast. (Getaria is actually hometown of fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga. No wonder I love this wine so much!) Even though it’s light and crisp, with melon notes and a slight acidity, it’s far more complex in character than most enter-summer wines thanks to its mineral backbone and zesty finish. Perfect with seafood. Try salted anchovies. -Stephanie Cain
The 2010 Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli de Getaria is Stephanie’s staff pick this month. Check it out here.
Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
One of my favorite things to drink, period. This red vermouth, based on Giuseppe Carpano’s original recipe from 1786, is a delightful melange of candied red cherry, bitter gentiene and quinine notes, and touches of orange peel and mint. Silky, spicey, herbal, bright are all adjectives that come to mind when sipping on a Carpano Antica. Enjoy as I do, simply over rocks, or as an addition to any traditional cocktail calling for sweet vermouth; makes a good Negroni great. Check it out here. -Charles Sasson
PS. In the mood for a Manhattan? The New York Times recommends Carpano Antica Formula in the latest Diner’s Journal.
Obsessed: 2010 Azienda Agricola Cos Frappato
This natural Frappato from the Vittoria commune of Sicily possesses gorgeous inner sweetness, superb textural elegance and fabulous overall balance. Wild strawberries, sweet red cherries, flowers and mint linger on the high-toned finish. This is a pretty serious Frappato that stands apart from the vast majority of other versions for its density and richness. The Frappato was aged in equal parts cement and amphorae. -S.W.
Obsessed: Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2010
I love Arneis for its overarching texture of pears, apple, and accents of honeysuckle, tempered by a steely minerality on the long finish. And Giacosa makes one of the best in Piedmont! Pair it with white fish, lobster, roast chicken, or a hearty carbonara for a tasty experience. -T.S.