When, a few years later, Ezio purchased the Baluchin vineyard in Neive (a small village in the Barbaresco district) in 2000, he turned to his longtime friend, fellow horse aficionado and highly regarded Barbaresco producer, Giorgio Rivetti, to help him craft a small production Barbaresco from his family Estate. Giorgio provided expert advice and extended the use of La Spinetta’s winery in Castagnole Lanze for the production of Ezio’s new Barbaresco. In exchange, Ezio offered his help in caring for Giorgio’s horses – an ideal collaboration. Ezio explains, “I have two passions in my life: horses and Barbaresco. It’s through these passions that Giorgio and I have become great friends. I have taught Giorgio much about horses and he has taught me much about Barbaresco.”
Federica Cocito affectionately corroborates this connection between the two: “I don’t remember a time when Giorgio and my father were not dreaming or planning some new adventures! They have been there for each other at every milestone: from when Giorgio decided to start producing great reds to when Ezio went back to his roots and started producing Barbaresco from the family vineyard, our Baluchin. They have in common so many passions: great wines above all, but also their beloved horses. We often joke around the fact that they have their own language, that most of us struggle to understand, but they clearly get each other.”
In 2017, Ezio was presented with the opportunity to reacquire an Arneis vineyard that had long been leased to another vintner, giving rise to the production of the winery’s first white wine, Langhe Bianco Ben Turnò. The name, Ben Turnò, means “bentornato” or “welcome back” in the Piedmontese dialect and refers to two very significant events in the winery’s, and Ezio Cocito’s personal, story: the reacquisition of this portion of vineyard and the return a casa of Ezio Cocito’s only daughter, Federica, from a long period abroad.
The Cocito winery is truly a family operation: the father-mother-daughter trio are involved in every aspect of the company, stepping in wherever necessary. Federica recalls, “When I was 11, I was already helping out in the vineyard; it’s always been a part of our family. Now, in addition to my full-time job, I lend a hand at the winery wherever it’s needed, from communication to tasting grapes in the vineyard.”
Cocito produces just two wines: one red, Cocito Barbaresco Baluchin Riserva, and one white, Cocito Langhe Bianco Ben Turnò. Nebbiolo vineyards for the Barbaresco are planted in the calcareous clay/sandy soil of the miniscule Bric Micca Cru, the highest point (1,200-1,300 feet above sea level) of the Baluchin vineyard in Neive. Baluchin means “star” in the Piedmontese dialect and poetically refers to the vineyard’s ideal position for star gazing on clear night. The Barbaresco Baluchin is produced in very limited quantities and only as a Riserva, to best appreciate this treasure of a wine.
The historic vineyard from which the Langhe Bianco is produced is situated at the foot of “old Neive” at about 820 feet above sea level. The vineyard is planted predominantly to Arneis (about 90%), but some old, rare vines of Sylvaner and Chardonnay (and even a natural crossing of Moscato) can be found throughout as well. The uniqueness of this vineyard, its history, and its complex soil, particularly rich in sand, result in a distinctive Arneis wine with impressive aromatics and minerality. The Ben Turnò Langhe Bianco label is dedicated to the other great passion, besides wine, that Ezio and Giorgio share: the love for their horses. Ezio explains, “There are a lot of similarities between the passion, the dedication and the sacrifices needed to take care of your vineyards and the ones needed to breed and train your horses.”
The Cocito vines are tended in full respect of the territory with the use of organic farming practices, and both wines are produced in the Castagnole Lanze winery, in collaboration with La Spinetta. Ezio focusses all his efforts on achieving the highest quality possible for each of his wines. He says, “I’ve always believed that if you can’t do something right, you shouldn’t do it at all. This is why we only produce our wine when we can achieve an exceptional vintage.” Ardent care, attention to detail, and also creativity are key in each step of the production, from the vineyard to the labels (each entirely hand-designed by Ezio Cocito himself), presenting two wines that fully embody the Cocito story.