Il Grifone, Rosso Piceno, Superoire, Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, red wine from Italy

6 points

Until about ten years ago, wine from the Italian region Marche was still quite unknown. Many wine drinkers have heard the name of a grape – and type of wine – called Verdicchio, but they might not know that this a typical grape of Marche – an undiscovered region of Italy on the Adriatic side, east of Tuscany and south of Abruzzi.  I do really like Verdicchio, but this region is even more notable for its amazing red wine. Maybe the most impressive one so far is called Kurni (which became for whatever but strange reasons very popular in Moscow:, but the one I’m introducing here isn’t bad at all.


Il Grifone is the flagship wine of the winemaker Cocci Grifoni (Tenuta Cocci Grifoni). It is a cuvée of predominantly Montepulciano combined with Cabernet Sauvignon, which actually gives the wine its very special and enjoyable balance and even direction.

This wine has quite a strong character. As an unprofessional drinker you might describe the tasting experience as a typical kind of Italian wine, although you have no idea how to describe a typical Italian wine. It is elegant, soft, smooth and has a chocolatey bitter sweetness.  Perhaps once in your (young) life, you slept on a cut grainfield, maybe on a bale of straw and you remember the smell of dry heat, brittle red soil and thermal of a Mediterranean late summer or early autumn – still warm enough but at night you need a woolen pullover. I hope you can follow my memories and feelings, as this really describes the wine. I don’t know if the vintage of 2000 was a good one – for me it was an excellent one and has proven that it was worth keeping it in my cellar, since I acquired the bottles in around 2005 and stored them. My heart beats when I open each bottle, knowing I won’t be able to get any more, but my tongue, my sense and vagary love this stuff.

I remember I was once at the vineyard and unfortunately the people weren’t too friendly. Questions about the differences of vintages were more or less ignored as “we do not experience huge differences between vintages”. So stupid: I have vintage 2000 and vintage 2003 (at the time the hottest summer ever, probably since long overtaken), both are different although you recognize how much effort these winemakers put into both wines. The shop at the vineyard sticks in my mind as a sales station of good wine without the passion to sell good wine. Perhaps this is also the reason why they never made into something real big or outstanding. As we all know, at least 30% of a so-called good wine is good marketing.  Although I’ve read that the vintage of 2000 received even 90 points by Robert Parker.

Anyhow, I love this wine. There is one other metaphor of this wine which somehow fits it very well. As you can see in the pic, the style of the label is very conservative and without any modern inspiration.  I always thought this wine could have appeared in the movie “Godfather”. Many years ago there was an Italian restaurant at E. Houston in Manhattan. I went there a couple of times before it was closed. But it was a typical rather small NY Italian restaurant. The owner – rather a kind of innkeeper – sat at the largest round table close to the entrance of the restaurant which you wouldn’t consider a guest table at all. This gentleman’s character was a kind of guy like Tony Soprano (actually he probably was Tony Soprano), so he somehow – even being very silent – dominated the whole place. Once we were there – and it was me who had been brave enough to ask New Yorkers to come to this “great” place –  right after  I ordered some wine which I can’t remember, I went to the bathroom, whose walls were covered with wine labels. While I did my business I discovered the label of “Il Grifone”. Very impressed I probably thought: “amazing” and immediately when I came back to the guestroom I change the order and asked of a “Il Grifone”. They had one; I was happy and somehow proud as I thought I could impress my American potential business partner. What happened: the wine was corked! When I gave back the bottle, Mr. Soprano advised his waiter to bring the bottle to him. He took a big mouthful and said while he lifted his eyebrows: “there is no cork”. I cannot separate this wine from this experience, so please try “Il Grifone”.

You can find a lot about all their wines at Unfortunately, you have to find the distributors who carry these wines in your country on your own. I remember that in Germany there is a wine store in Regensburg called Peutler&Aumüller which offers the wine I’ve introduced here: (

The wine has a high alcohol content!