Thirsty Thursday: Nero d’Avola, COS, Nero di Lupo, Sicilia IGT 2011

For Christmas we suggested a wild Sicilian red aged in pithoi (read here).  This Thirsty Thursday, we revisit Azienda Agricola COS in Southeastern Sicily (because we can’t help ourselves).

Again, the grape is Nero d’Avola.  Again, wild yeasts did the work, biodynamic principles reigned supreme, and nothing beyond a dash of sulfur was added to the wine.

Yet this time, instead of those gloriously anochronistic pithoi (ceramic jugs), modernism creeps in with two years of cellaring in cement tanks under temp control.

The result?

COS Nero di Lupo Nero d'Avola 2011 Sicily Italy

Hello there.

Appearance: A clear moderate garnet shows the intentional aging.

Aromas: Utterly intoxicating aromas of dried violets infuse with chai tea.  But I can almost see the purple of a hot raspberry compote wafting before my nose.

Palate: Dry, twangy acidity and leathery tannins snap at the palate like a black bull whip.  But the real story is its 12.5% alcohol.  Only 12.5%!?  By now we shouldn’t be surprised, the Pithos was only 12%.  Yet such a sun bleached region should produce alcoholic monsters. Yet Nero di Lupo feels light.  It feels lean, edgy, yet lined in felt, much like its Pithos version.

Flavors: Flavors scramble all over the place. Tart red grapefruit switches from charcoal, to apple skin, to earth and herb.  But that bright raspberry fruit holds the core. These fruity flavors last a long while.

Conclusions: COS Nero di Lupo is as equally brilliant as its Pithos manifestation (4 of 5).  One dish would sing with it: rabbit on lightly fried polenta from a food cart called Burrasca.  The wine’s lightness, wild flavors, and savory herbaciousness of both would work wonders.

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About Aaron Bartels

Follow Wayward Wine (WSET3) to tour the world's exciting vineyards, breweries, and distilleries, while discovering new drinks.
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7 Responses to Thirsty Thursday: Nero d’Avola, COS, Nero di Lupo, Sicilia IGT 2011

  1. Great post ! I love that producer, I actually reviewed a bunch of their wines including this Nero di Lupo. Here’s the link if you don’t mind some shameless self-promotion !

    http://wine-ramblings.com/2013/12/11/cos-nero-di-lupo/

    • waywardwine says:

      Have no shame! Their wines are fascinating and worth touting. You’re right that it’s deceptively Burgundian, especially in weight and structure, the flavors tend a bit wilder though.

      • Very true. I never had a bad wine from COS, the Pithos Bianco is probably the most interesting wine I had last year, and their Cerasuolo di Vittoria is great too. Both are reviewed on my blog.

  2. Awesome producer. Love their bottle shape. Ancient.

  3. foxress says:

    Beautiful description of the wine. My mouth is watering.

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