|COS was established in 1980 by three friends—Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Pinuccia Strano—each of whom is represented by the initial letter of his surname in the winery’s title. While the venture began purely as a pleasurable pursuit, following early qualitative success derived from a fairly casual operation, they adopted a serious orientation, employing modern viticultural techniques. Today, Cilia and Occhipinti continue to oversee the estate’s operation.
The estate pays homage to Sicilia’s native grapes, cultivating wines from Frappato di Vittoria, Nero d’Avola, Inzolia, and Grecanico. While most of these varietals appear in blends, preeminent portfolio positioning is accorded to Nero d’Avola, which figures in several monovarietal bottlings. Nero d’Avola, essentially an exclusive inhabitant of Sicilia, attains high sugar levels and surprisingly, despite the heat, exhibits a rather bracing acidity. When vinified as a single varietal, it fashions a red that often inspires comparison to Syrah, and, like the latter, is amenable to projecting a vast stylistic range.
Nero di Lupo, one of COS’s single-varietal bottlings of note, emphasizes the dark, meaty character of Nero d’Avola on both the nose and palate. The pronounced savory dimension of this wine issues a demand—rather than an invitation—for rich and succulent meats. The Sicilians may very likely pair it with polpettoni (meatballs), which they serve as a main course (and are also credited with having invented) as opposed to a “topper.”