Cosimo Maria Masini

Biodynamic weed control and green manure at Cosimo Maria Masini

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Cosimo Maria Masini? who makes the wines?

Francesco de Filippis and the Masini family have transformed their small corner of Tuscany into a veritable paradise.  Grapes grow alongside wheat, vegetables, ducks, chickens, olives and quite a bit more. Theirs is an example of integrated farming at it’s height: every action is considered within the ecosystem they are working to reinvigorate, support and more deeply understand with each passing year.

Francesco is a humble and curious grower for whom the connections between people are as important as anything he might produce.  Over the past few years, this spirit seems to have been transmitted into the wines.  They are clean, direct and unassuming, and they are an absolute pleasure to invite to a meal.

The team at the Masini estate always includes a few WWOOFERs as the family wants as many people, young and old, as possible to learn about what organic farming really entails.  In addition to their international volunteers, a gentleman named Fedardo has been tending the vineyards, the olive trees, and the gardens for the last nine decades,.   Pictured below with Francesco he was born on the estate.  After nearly a century of vintages he still comes to work on a scooter and spends all day outside.  During our last visit, he was finishing up the last of the pruning in the olive trees. Himself.  At 90+ years old. This little biodynamic estate might just have a fountain of youth somewhere on the premises.

Organic and Biodynamic wines from Tuscany at Cosimo Maria Masini.

Francesco de Filippis in the cellar.

Biodynamic Preparation 500 is prepared on the estate in Tuscany at Cosimo Maria Masini

Francesco with WWOOFERS

Biodynamic farming in Tuscany

Francesco and Fedardo

what wines do they make at Cosimo Maria Masini?

Sangiovese dominates the plantings, from the young vines that provide most of the wine in Sincero, to the mature, elegant, and unblended Nicole. A special and rare wine from the oldest mixed parcels of indigenous grapes is Cosimo.  Historically the vines were interplanted in the region and Cosimo reflects this tradition, mixing Sangiovese with local grapes such as Sanforte and Buonamico.

For the whites, Annick includes more or less equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, vinified without oak, while Daphné is their pure Trebbiano, fermented on the skins of the grapes and aged on it’s lees. Daphné is a bit of a wild hare in that it shows a bit like a red wine in tastings and can pair with a surprising range of dishes, including, but not limited to, well, small game like hare.

Biodynamic wines from Cosimo Maria Masini in Tuscany

Nicole – 100% Biodynamic Tuscan Sagiovese


 

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when did Cosimo Maria Masini start? when might you open a bottle?

The Masini family purchased the property in 1999 and set about it’s conversion to biodynamic farming soon thereafter. Grapes have been grown on the land for decades, if not centuries. The family is proud that Fedardo, for whom their dessert wine is named, has stayed with them as a lead farmhand and continues his more than sixty years of experience on the land.

There are wines from the estate for most any type of meal. Sincero and Annick are wines of preparation, i.e. we drink them most often while cooking and preparing a meal. Nicole is Sangiovese as Pinot Noir, or perhaps Nebbiolo; light tannin, elegant fruit and bright acidity.

Cosimo Maria Masini is just down the hill from the center of San Miniato.
This is analagous to a bottle of excellent Bourgogne Rouge in terms of where it might fit in a meal.  Daphé is a wine for a meal and for slow drinking.

where is Cosimo Maria Masini?

In the northern reaches of the Chianti DOC between Pisa and Florence is the town of San Miniato. All of the vineyards are contiguous with the estate and the winery and cellar are on site. This location is roughly thirty miles from the coast and it used to be under the sea. As a result, the site is strewn with fossilized shells that amend the soil as minerals leech out over time and provide a dramatic backdrop to vineyard tours that take on a feel of a treasure hunt.

Well versed Italian gourmets will know San Miniato as the Tuscan home of the white truffle. A rare treat that perfumes risotto, accompanies Daphné gracefully, and is fêted at the end of November each year at the world reknown San Miniato truffle festival.

Cosimo Maria Masini Biodynamic wines form Tuscany

Sunset over San Miniato

Toscana, Tuscany

Toscana


why is Cosimo Maria Masini a candid wine? why might you want a taste?

Unexpected as it was, we “met” the winery at a networking event in Chicago. It turns out that this tiny Tuscan winery had hired a German woman as their sales manager whose uncle lives north of the city. Now, if we had a nickel for every person who ever said “you should import a wine I tasted in Tuscany” we’d have enough nickels to fly to the Truffle festival in San Miniato. This one is different though.

We have never visited a more integrated farm in our travels to vineyards across the world. There is a palpable vitality at the estate that shows in the wines. Native yeast and predominantly concrete fermenting tanks transfer the purity of the juice into each bottle, and we think their wines are an example of the best of what can be grown in Northern Tuscany.

That's Daphné, seated on the far left.

Why might you like to taste? We think Francesco’s Sangiovese is unique and rare in it’s clarity and precision, and his Trebbiano is a wine white wine for red wine lovers, layered and textured as it is. Both are terrific values as well.

And the German sales manager? She is Lee Greene, who many in the US now know as the founder of The Scrumptious Pantry, which does for food producers what we aim to do for wineries – promoting the best products available and the people who make them possible. No surprise then that her uncle’s recommendation proved fruitful.

how is the wine made at Cosimo Maria Masini?

Literally moments into our first visit to the winery, we were lead into the vineyard and presented an abnormally large root ball, attached to what appeared to be a weed. The point was clear: this is how the wines are made, in the vineyard, in healthy loose soil that is the product of careful, intentional farming. And it wasn’t a weed, it was a native plant encouraged to grow alongside the vines to loosen the soil and capture nitrogen.

In all honesty, the vineyard look a mess, until you look more closely, and then they look alive. Where neat rows, carefully pruned vines and weed free dirt are the hallmarks of many vineyards that surround Tuscan villas, these vines are wild, the soil is alive and the resulting grapes are unique.

Manual punchdowns at Cosimo Maria Masini
The same ethos pervades work in the cellar where native yeasts spark fermentation and the wines are fermented in vessels that highlight each variety’s inherent nature – concrete for the Sangiovese, stainless steel for the Sauvignon Blanc, and neutral oak for the Trebbiano and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The winery follows biodynamic methods and is part of the Renaissance des Appellations producer group.