Wine Time: A Natural Sicilian in Houston

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If you've been following along here at Wine Time, then you certainly know a thing or two about Natural wine and the often heated debate in the U.S. about exactly what Natural wine is, who makes true Natural wine, and who's allowed to write about Natural wine (it's a good thing that the self-appointed Natural wine police don't read this blog!).

Regardless of one's position or thoughts on Natural wine, there is no disputing that there is an expanding number of wines made with chemical-free growing practices and spontaneous fermentation (native yeast) that are making their way to U.S. shores.

I was thrilled to discover that Spec's now stocks one of my favorite Natural unmanipulated wines from Sicily, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria by COS (pronounced KOHS), a wine I first tasted many years ago at the Vini Veri -- the Real Wine -- fair in Italy.

Produced using Nero d'Avola and Frappato grapes grown on the southeastern coast of Sicily in the township of Vittoria, the COS Cerasuolo (pronounced CHEH-rah-ZU'OH-loh) tends more toward earth than fruit flavors while retaining the classic balance of power and lightness that makes the appellation so unique (at least in my view). COS is a meticulously chemical-free grower, and its winemaker employs ambient (i.e., native) yeasts exclusively. In other words, he grows his grapes and lets them turn into wine, manipulating them as little as humanly possible. The resulting bottlings are fresh and bright, however with some degree of bottle variation, true to vintage and true to place.

With some initial funk and a predominance of savory over fruit, this wine may not be for everyone (wine snobs, please do not apply) but at less than $30 a bottle, I consider that a good thing: There'll be more for me to drink -- Natural or not!

Click here for previous posts on Cerasuolo di Vittoria.

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