Today we’re virtually taking you to a magic little farm in the beautiful Montalcino area. It is the kingdom of the world famous Brunello di Montalcino: Il Cocco winery, owned by Giacomo Bindi’s family since a couple of centuries ago. We have been taking people to this well secluded small winery for many years now, but even so, every time we go is like the first as Giacomo is full of surprises and likes to try and experiment new things all the time.
Giacomo Bindi: the owner
Il Cocco winery is what I considered for many years a “One-man-band”, as Giacomo is the person who turned this old family farm into the successful small organic winery that it is today almost single-handedly. Over the years he’s availed himself of the help from his father or brothers, but Giacomo has always been in charge of every aspect of this project, which started just over 20 years ago, when he was only 19. He learned, step by step, all that it takes to end up with a beautiful bottle of Brunello. From working in the vineyard, learning how to care for vines, to working in the cellar, where he likes to “play” with the barrel in different ways according to the wine he has in mind.
The reds: Brunello di Montalcino, Riserva wine and Brunato
In time the types of wine he produces have multiplied, along with his eclectic personality. His small production (about 12000 bottles a year in total) from the 2.5 hectars of vineyards he has now includes the Brunello di Montalcino. It is also in the Riserva version when the vintage calls for it. The Riserva wine is a modern type of Brunello that is great with important meals. It is also wonderful as a meditation wine, especially accompanied by dark chocolate. The Rosso di Montalcino, is like a baby Brunello as Giacomo makes it by shortening the typically long aging process of his Brunello in the barrels from over 30 months to about 15. The result is a red wine that is ready and easier to drink earlier, but still with considerable complexity.
The Brunato is another Sangiovese based red wine, but with the inclusion of a 15% of Cabernet Sauvignon. No barrels are used for the aging in this case – only steel tanks – which makes this a perfect everyday wine for meals. Recently Giacomo also makes a completely biodynamic red wine, not filtered. This wine is made with a blend of Sangiovese Foglia Tonda and Sangioveto Grosso coming from 70 years old vines, aged for 1 year in clay containers: the real taste of the old style Tuscan red wine. Certainly something for our tastebuds to “explore”!
To complete the family, Giacomo produces also 3 different rosé wines. Buongiorno (literally Good morning) is the name of the first rosé he started producing in 2014. It is made with the “salasso” method, which means drawing out part of the liquid from the fermentation tank of his Brunello. Then they let it complete the fermentation with no more contact with the skins. The outcome is a wine that is fresher and easier to drink, but still with a good dose of guts! Excellent as an aperitive, but also perfect to drink with food.
The remaining two rosés are sparkling, made with the Champenoise method. The Sangiovese grapes are harvested a good two to three weeks in advance, when they are not completely ripe. It maintains a higher level of acidity and little color, but already offers great aromas. The juice obtained is fermented with the skins for a short period of time and then bottled and left to referment and age sur lis. A small part of this is aged for a longer period. So this means that we’re still waiting to try the 2017 vintage and definitely looking forward to it.
How does Giacomo do all this? As said earlier, he started basically alone, but in recent times, he’s “recruited” all of his three siblings. Now when visiting Il Cocco winery, you may also meet Ettore, the youngest brother, involved in the vineyard and cellar work. Or you can meet Stefano and Domitilla who run the small restaurant and agriturismo there. That’s right! Il Cocco is also a farm that offers accommodation in this beautiful spot hidden on one of the highest hills of Montalcino. Here you can see spectacular views of the nearby Mount Amiata, completely surrounded by nature.
A real must visit when in the area. Not only it is absolutely fascinating to spend some time listening to Giacomo, who loves to take you through his vineyard and cellar, explaining all the operations, transmitting all the passion that drives him while sipping on his beautiful wines, but also for the sheer beauty of the setting: the centuries old building in the middle of beautiful countryside!