COS is an acronym from the initials of the family names of the original three owners of this estate, founded in 1980: (Giambattista) Cilia, (Giusto) Occhipinti and (Cirino) Strano. Over the years Strano opted to dedicate himself completely to his medical job and so the estate has been run by Cilia and Occhipinti. They believe in organic and biodynamic farming, as well as the use of large 150-liter terracotta amphoras to make and age their wines–such as, for example, their excellent Pithos Rosso. Unlike many other estates in Italy that are also involved in organic and natural winemaking, COS has long distinguished itself for clean, pure, varietally accurate wines. IAN D’AGATA, vinous December 2015

Amphora, bio-dynamics, skin contact – these are terms which entered the Australian wine lexicon in the last decade and have become associated with the self-declared natural wine movement. One of the originators of the breed and undoubtedly one of its most successful proponents is C.O.S. The name takes the first letter of the last name of each of its three founders, Gianbatista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia Strano and started out as three students experimenting with their parents vineyards. In the process they became more and more interested in the winemaking methodologies of the “ancients” and in particular the fermentation and maturation in 400 litre clay amphorae sunk into the ground. The resulting wines stand out for the fact they are clean, fragrant and totally unique: the long periods of skin contact impart textural richness and grip, yet retain finesse and freshness.

They are located in the South of Sicily in the DOCG zone of Vittoria; most notable for the Cerasuola di Vittoria which is a blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola. Of course this part of the stable of wines but in addition there are two whites and an additional few reds. The whites are Rami – a blend of Grecanico and Inzolia fermented and aged in stainless steel and Pithos Bianco – 100% Grecanico aged in amphorae. The other reds of note are a straight Frappato, Nero di Lupo (100% Nero d’Avola) and Pithos Rosso which mirrors the blend of Cerasuola but is fermented in amphora. PWS