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A Trio Of Tuscan Reds

Young, Old, And Off The Beaten Path

by Tom Wolf

Buy this collection 3 bottles

Buy this collection 3 bottles

Buy this collection 3 bottles

2021 Toscana Rosso “Monteleccio”


Italy |  Tuscany

Discount Eligible $29.00

In talking to Elisa Sesti, and learning about her family’s estate, it quickly becomes clear that daily life on the grounds of Castello di Argiano has carried over from a different time. The dilapidated, medieval castle named after Janus, a Roman god with two faces—one looking to the past, the other to the future—wasn’t an obvious place to settle down when her parents arrived in the 1970s. Locals nicknamed it Arginaccio (“ugly Argiano”) and il Viperaio (“the viper’s den”) after the serpents who took up residence while it lay abandoned. But the Sestis foresaw potential in the property, and a remote paradise in which to build a life.
   As their restoration plans advanced, they began planting Sangiovese, which Elisa calls “a primadonna variety” as it requires the attention of a devoted vigneron as well as just the right conditions to thrive. Luckily Argiano finds itself at the center of a privileged microclimate just 30 km from both the sea and mountains (the dormant Monte Amiata volcano), with vineyards protected by a dense forest. In summertime, their southern slopes allow fruit to achieve a balanced ripeness while a refreshing sea breeze aerates and cools down the vineyards. During the winter, these same winds provide hydration and humidity.
   In their lineup of world-class Brunellos and Rossos, the IGT Toscana plays an important role: it introduces Sangiovese to uninitiated palates by capturing the grape’s youthful charm, bright acidity, and punchy fruit qualities. The 2021 bottling is earthy, inviting, and zingy, and ready to drink and pair in abundance with Italian classics like tomato pastas and bean stews, or heartier, gamey Tuscan dishes. Farming for the “Monteleccio” is the same as for their Brunellos—they adhere strictly to lunar and planetary cycles to guide them—but the former, which is a selection of declassified Brunello fruit, spends just one year in large botti instead of three.
   In the spirit of Janus, for whom the month of January is also named, we’re embracing transition and starting the year right with Sesti’s “Monteleccio,” an apt symbol for new beginnings.

2018 Toscana Rosso

Cuna di Federico Staderini

Italy |  Tuscany

Discount Eligible $66.00

Tuscan Pinot Noir—or Pinot Nero, as it’s called there—has no right to be this good, but Federico Staderini is an uncommon vignaiolo. Having taken years of experience as the enologist of one of Brunello’s most illustrious estates and combined them with a historically minded quest to replant vineyard land in eastern Tuscany that had been beloved by the Etruscans, Federico found a sliver of the region ideally suited to this chameleon grape. Fresh, complex, and extroverted, his gorgeous rendition is proof of his experiment’s resounding success.

2014 Chianti Classico Riserva “Terrazze”


Italy |  Tuscany

Discount Eligible $40.00

It’s a treat to taste a sublime Chianti Classico with nearly a decade of age. Sangiovese that has been farmed with as much devotion as it receives at Castagnoli only gets more perfect over time. Some of the bright fruit has faded a little, but more nuanced, floral, and sanguine notes have emerged in the forefront, making this a dream bottling to open the next time you pan-sear a ribeye or roast a chicken.

More from the July 2024 Newsletter