Category Archives: Wine

Arianna Occhipinti And The Wines That Inspire Us

About Arianna Occhipinti

Made in a natural style without fuss, Arianna’s wines evoke a beauty and authenticity that belongs to Sicily alone. To us, her wines are the gold-standard for grit, intention, and an expanded definition of terroir.

This kind of terroir encompasses more than the immediate soil and climate but also the culture, identity, and history of Sicily herself. To truly grasp the character of Sicily, one must spend time amongst her people. But to catch a glimpse, one must simply take a sip of Arianna’s distinctive wines.



* Arianna and Wine Director, Tess Carlson                                                                              * A view of the Sicilian coast from Castelmola

This current release of Arianna’s wines, which just arrived at the Caffe, showcase an alarming complexity new to our lips. Tami, Arianna’s second label (often considered a simpler version of her higher-end namesake), is making waves of its own. The 2016 vintage offers a profundity that demonstrates obvious maturation of vines and possibly of the winemaker herself.  While offering a newfound earnestness, Tami remains undeniably drinkable. Arianna’s SP68 and Il Frappato carry forward this depth and retain their individual character. 

* The wine team at occhipinti in Vittoria, SIcIly


Il Frappato 2015                                    16/80       

Regal, feminine, and mysterious. There is something undefinable about this wine that makes me want to drink it on a daily basis, contemplating its nuances and hidden meanings. An excellent pairing for conversation and thought during an evening for two. 

SP68 red 2016                                        12/60

Frappato and Nero d’Avola. A wondrous combination of native Sicilian varietals that goes well with just about everything- From pan-seared fish to flank steak. 

Tami Frappato 2016                               9/45

We can’t get enough. This vintage sings to us, tempting us to dance, engage in heated discussion, or share intimate details. Complex enough on it’s own but friendly towards fare. 

Tami Nero d’Avola 2016                       9/45

Dark fruit balanced by briskness and acidity. A spicy finish. Recommended with burrata cheese, a fresh mozzarella stuffed with butter, cream and more cheese, and fresh figs. 

A note of gratitude

Often we talk about our winemakers but rarely do we give credit to the actors behind the scene. We are fortunate at Caffe Dolce to work with a group of fantastic distributors that we consider our friends. Drinking with one another is both a challenge in tolerance and a testament to the power of wine to unite disparate parties. Over years of tasting and hundreds of bottles shared with one another, we have learned a great deal about the technical aspects of wine and winemaking, but importantly, we have learned about what makes a wine truly beautiful. To all of us, the beauty of a wine lies in its power to move you- To tears, to experience pure joy in being, to feel more comfortable sharing your personality, to awe, and to gratitude. It is because of this lesson that I am, as Wine Director, able to offer you a list of wines I feel passionate about each week.  I encourage you, as you drink a wine or a bottle from our Caffe, to consider how it makes you feel and the experience it lends to your daily life.

It is impossible to talk about the producer, Arianna Occhipinti, without mentioning our chosen wine godmother, Antoinette Francine Garbagnati. Annie is the owner of Rocky Mountain Distributing and one of the most passionate oenophiles I’ve had the privilege of meeting. She goes beyond standard distributor duties to create connections with the producers themselves and to build a book comprised of intentional wine with raw character. Annie is responsible for bringing Arianna’s wines from Sicily to Montana, a long journey for glass and grapes.


* Antoinette Francine Garbagnati

Non-Profit Tuesday: The Max Wave

Every Tuesday we partner with a different non-profit organization in our community and donate 15% of our evening’s sales to their cause. Join us for these special nights and learn more about the wonderful work that is going on in Missoula! The Max Wave, a project born out of a desire to honor Max Lentz,Continue Reading

Public Class: Beer v. Wine!

Beer vs. Wine (Or how we learned to stop choosing and love them both!)   When: Monday April 27th, 2015 at 5:30pm Where: Caffe Dolce 500 Brooks St. Missoula What: Public Class Featuring: Big Sky Brewery beer and the wine of Caffe Dolce Who: 25 people, call to reserve your spot, 406-830-3055 x3     PleaseContinue Reading

Staff Pairing: Occhipinti il Frappato + Branzini

 Occhipinti iL Frappato & Branzini A taste of Sicily: Explore this beautiful pairing with Wine Director Jerod Peitsmeyer and Chef Andrew Martin… Branzino (pl. Branzini) is just one of many names given to the European sea bass. In Greece, for instance, this delicious fish is called Lavriki. The fish is so special that the wordContinue Reading

Public Wine Class: Barolo vs Brunello

We are so pleased to offer our second public wine class of 2015 next week. Barolo vs Brunello Monday March 16th at 5:30pm (Photo by Eugen Naiman/Flickr Creative Commons) When we think of the most iconic Italian wine, we picture sweeping hills, terraced vineyards, the bounce and lilt of spoken Italian, and an other-worldly cuisine; allContinue Reading

Staff Pairing: Ambyth Rose + Duck Salad

**Every week our staff tastes different dishes and wines on our current dinner menu and chooses an outstanding pairing that we can’t get enough of.  Come try them with us!** Ambyth Rose + Duck Salad There are a handful of new-world wines that move us from our old world absolutism. The Ambyth Estate Rosé is one.Continue Reading

Wine Tasting: The Magic of Pairing

You’ve been asking and waiting for it, and now it’s here!  Please join Wine Director, Jerod Peitsmeyer, and Assistant Wine Director, Madison Unsworth for a detailed and educational look into the process and adventure of how Caffe Dolce finds and pairs wine with our fare. This tasting takes inspiration from our staff wine tastings and will focusContinue Reading

The Return of Le Ragnaie

There is perhaps no other winery that aligns more closely with our palates and philosophies as our perennial favorite Tuscan producer, Le Ragnaie. Their wines speak for themselves with a bounty of grace, nuance, restraint, power, and their ability to transport our hearts and minds to the beautiful hill of Montalcino. Riccardo, the wine-maker is our dear friend, as isContinue Reading

Burgundy: The Queen of White Wine

There are a few wines that could drive me to madness. The white wines of Burgundy are firmly in this category. There is no place on the planet that can elevate chardonnay to the heights that the soils, climate, and traditions of Burgundy can accomplish. When I hear someone state that they “don’t like chardonnay”,Continue Reading

Room for Dessert

Dessert is literally a chance to add a sweet moment to life. Like everything we pursue at Dolce, our quest with dessert is to come up with things that are astonishingly good – and satisfy the sweet spot to perfection. This fall, we’ve got some gems for you. Goat Cheese Cheesecake: Blood orange syrup and supremes,Continue Reading