Il Drago e la Fornace

Discover the history of Il Drago e la Fornace its wines, passions & style. Anna Caidan is in conversation with proprietor Pietro Mattia Pocci to talk about his new family venture.
2020-10-01
Wine Story

What could you tell me about the history of the winery?

‘Il Drago e la Fornace finds its origin in the design studio Archirivolto, my dad’s business, designing chairs and other furniture items for the best companies all over the globe over almost 40 years. When we were looking for a new site where to base the studio we found La Fornace, a village close to Colle di Val d’Elsa (SI), in the midst of the Chianti Colli Senesi.

We decided then to take over my grandfather’s winemaking business and we founded Il Drago e la Fornace. This happened in 2012. We are a relatively new reality, but we’re making our statement over quite a few international wine markets, exporting to Sweden, Norway, Holland, Czech Republic, Denmark, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, China, Taiwan.’

Do you have a winemaking secret?

‘Well, we try to maintain a certain ecosystem that my father keeps on stressing out the importance of. As any farm we surrounded ourselves with animals of every kind: we obviously have chickens, pheasants, turtledoves as well as pavos, ducks, mallard ducks and a pretty angry gaggle of geese - all roaming free. Together with our three pigs (funny story, we bought them to slaughter but never could bring ourselves to do it - we love them), some goats and a few sheep, all the inhabitants of the Il Drago e la Fornace contribute in creating a heterogeneous habitat that ultimately keeps pests at bay.

Moreover, do you know of winemakers that put music in their canteens to soothe their wines into aging better? We did something similar: we come from the furniture industry, we have a studio that designs mainly chairs for the biggest firms in Italy, Europe and the rest of the world. So we built a vine where we hang all of our successful projects, just so that our real vines can bask in the view of beauty and harmony.’

What is your favourite step in the winemaking process?

‘I’d say to think of new blends, what could work and could not, try to make a bold move when possible. It does take a bit of experience, not merely knowing wine itself, but everything that forms the wine industry. It comes down to knowing trends and fashion, people, what they like, what they raise their glasses to; and I go out a lot so...’

What is your best memory since working at the winery?…and your most challenging moment?

‘The first time we decided to hire a stand at Vinitaly. It is hands down the most important wine fair in Italy, it’s an event like the Salone del Mobile di Milano or the Milano Fashion Week. The big dogs play there, so I was obviously very anxious. When they sent me the position of our stand I saw that I was put beside two extremely big wineries that had a 25years history each.

It was a daunting thought to be compared side by side with companies with such an established name and heritage, and we were at our first year instead. You know the effect, dry mouth and light headedness.

In hindsight it does come down to the five seconds of a person tasting my wine, and I was very pleased with the bottles we brought up. After the first few people I got a little more confident and even dared to speak to someone. I’d say that beside some understandable hiccups here and there it all went great, we got a few nice reviews to boost our ego with and things started taking a whole different turn from there. I still look up to the wineries from above, but now that we are in our eighth year of winemaking I can say we came a long way and fairs don’t frighten me that much anymore.’

How would you describe your wines in three words?

‘Tasty, modern, well-dressed.’

How are your wines different to others in your region?

‘We are blessed to be on a hilly portion of Colle di Val d’Elsa where a stream of lava flow crosses paths with the more traditional clay and limestone terrain. This ensures the water flow is improved and that all of our varieties benefit from the extra minerality.’

What is your favourite food-wines pairings?

‘I am a sushi lover so the obvious answer would be a very dry Vermentino to go with a fat plate of salmon sashimi.

But I also like to break the rules; last time we tried some charcoal grilled garfish and thick cut potatoes with our traditional Chianti as it’s not as full bodied as its Classico or Riserva edition. It was a good choice.’

When do you think is the best time to enjoy a glass of your wines?

‘However, let’s just say that one of my favourite things in the whole world is to sit on my armchair in front of the fireplace after dinner, swirling and sipping on a big glass of Carbonaie, easing my way into the night.’

‘Carbonaie 2015 has an Intense ruby red colour with deep aromas of ripe red fruits. Ample on the palate, elegant and complex, with flavours of blackberries, raspberries, cinnamon, leather and nuts towards a long finish. A sassy Sangiovese!’ Anna Caidan

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