Six days a week for a month we woke up at 6AM to prune the vineyards/pick grapes/process the fruit/tend to the amphoras, and I wasn't even there for the busiest part of the harvest. Evenings were full of long dinners, lots of wine, and the occasional outing to a bar or restaurant in nearby Acate or Comiso. Usually I wasn't in bed until after midnight. I'm not entirely sure how my body managed to adapt to that schedule (probably all the fresh food and blazing, nearly African sunshine), but it did, and by the time the end of September rolled around I was stronger, tanner, and on many levels, not ready to leave.
COS is a winery that was founded in 1980 by friends Giambattista Titta, Guisto Occhipinti, and Rino Strano. Their goal was to make wines as naturally and as close to the old fashioned way as possible. One way this has manifested is through the use of amphoras, clay jars that are dug into the ground and used to age the wine. The effect of this, and other biodynamic practices, has resulted in wine that is, on the whole, lower in alcohol than a lot of other Sicilian wines, balanced, and full of bright, delicious fruit. The Frappato (a grape that is characteristically quite similar to Pinot Noir) in particular was one of my favorites.
Given the busy schedule and long hours, plus the fact that we spent nearly 24 hours a day together (Alice and I actually did), we became a tight knit group. On Sundays Alice, Anna, and sometimes Joanna, and I would take long lunches, drives out to the beach, or spend hours drinking wine by the pool. Everything about being in Sicily felt accelerated and original.
(bottom left) Alice, Yumi, and me... not drinking wine
(bottom right) One of Anna's beautiful creations. Stuffed squid, peppers, rice, etc.
Soundtrack: Tu vuo' fa' l'Americano - Renato Carosone