Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pithy Wine

COS vinifies and matures Pithos Bianco (Pithos white), made from Grecanico, in 400 liter clay amphoras dug into the ground. Contrary to standard practice for modern white wine production, fermentation occurs in contact with the skins. The wine is bottled in the spring after the harvest. In order to improve stability, it is lightly sulfited before bottling. COS also produces a Pithos red, a Nero d’Avola-Frappato blend.

I recently sampled a 2010 COS Pithos Bianco ($38 retail in the Boston market). It was copper-yellow tinted. I smelled untoasted nuts, pear, and musk. Although there were smells recalling old apple juice, which I associate with oxidation, these smells did not increase with aeration as would normally be the case in a wine in rapid deterioration.  Though dry and moderately low in alcohol, the wine was slightly more viscous perhaps indicating a high level of glycerol. It was savory, pleasantly bitter and slightly astringent.  I look forward someday to enjoying it with a simply roasted whole chicken. Appreciation of this wine demands a mind open to exploring unconventional flavors.

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