When Guido Cocci Grifoni took over his family’s estate in the Piceno (a hilly area of Italy’s Marche region removed from the rest of Italy and dotted with small land-holders and Renaissance villages), his plans likely seemed a little unusual to the established farmers and vineyard owners of the day. In the 1960’s, this region was not known for wines of quality. For the most part, production was dedicated to full-bodied reds. Guido’s vision was a drastic departure that came to define the region in an entirely new way: he had discovered an ancient indigenous grape variety that had disappeared for years, Pecorino, and went on to craft one of Italy’s most endearing white wines from it. The Cocci Grifoni family is largely responsible for the recovery of this grape variety, which has saved a piece if Italy’s winemaking history and helped a region find a pure vision of terroir.
Since the family estate vineyard was founded in 1933, the Cocci Grifoni family has strived to live in harmony with nature, acting as stewards of the land. The hillside vineyards are almost entirely surrounded by forests, fields of wheat, and olive groves. The vineyards are divided by deep gullies that direct rainwater for natural irrigation and snow-white limestone canyons that provide shelter from northern winds. Today, the property is Certified Organic. These features, combined with the large temperature fluctuations between day and night, create an ideal microclimate for viticulture and biodiversity.
“Marilena and Paola Cocci Grifoni have taken over the reins of the estate from their father Guido, who will always be remembered as the man who brought the Pecorino grape variety back to the attention of experts and wine lovers alike. Had it not been for his faith and persistence back in the 1980’s, another white grape would probably be Italy’s hottest variety right now. However, the Pecorino is not this estate’s only historic bottling; Grifoni was also the first to bottle a Rosso Piceno Superiore in 1969. Cocci Grifoni must be admired for his clairvoyance, as his decision to devote his estate to nothing but native grapes was hugely out of fashion back in the 1980’s when everyone else was planting Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.” – Antonio Galloni on Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, vinous.com, July 2015