The Sesti grounds, perched atop a hillside before a mesmerizing panorama of rolling hills punctuated by towering Monte Amiata, are a special place. Here in the southern reaches of the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, there is something magical in the air. Perhaps it’s the constant fresh breeze that blows from the Mediterranean, channeled through a network of valleys from which it picks up intoxicating aromas of wildflowers and herbs. This air is famous, historically, for its cleansing properties; the inherent purity of these wines is only natural, considering the vines breathe it in day and night. Great terroir is certainly crucial, but capturing it in bottle is no easy feat. Thanks to their wholesome approach to viticulture, with a focus on sustainability and reliance upon lunar and planetary cycles, as well as their low-intervention, traditionalist winemaking, Giuseppe Sesti and his daughter, Elisa, are able to craft Sangioveses of a rare elegance. The following new arrivals are now in stock.
When it comes to the marked contrasts of neighboring microclimates, Montalcino in southern Tuscan gives the Bay Area a run for its money. Summer 2017 was infernally hot in western Europe, with the heatwave earning the nickname Lucifer. While the Sesti estate certainly endured a hot, dry year, the vines did not bear the brunt of it the way they did in other parts of Italy, even within the Montalcino DOCG. The astronomer-turned-vigneron Giuseppe Sesti says, “We were blessed with two rainfalls during the summer, which were so localized that they didn’t reach as far as four kilometers from us.” It wasn’t just the rain that saved the vintage at Sesti, producing this stately wine, whose relative concentration is balanced by remarkable finesse. Giuseppe and his daughter Elisa, who now manages the domaine, did what they could to react deftly to the heat. They left more leaves on their vines than usual to shield the grapes from the sun and also worked the topsoil with the “rippatura” technique, preserving moisture when it rains without drastically altering the soil structure. These factors combined to make an admirably restrained Rosso di Montalcino with notes of cherries and mint—and likely lots of longevity. Pair it with roast rosemary chicken and potatoes, wild mushroom risotto, or anything off your springtime grill!
Less exuberant than the Rosso above but two steps up in nuance and sophistication, this Brunello emanates a sweet fragrance of faded flowers, warm spice, incense, and tea. A savory richness on the palate leads to a silken finish with just the slightest grip. Here is a Brunello that can, and perhaps should, be enjoyed in its youth—the elements are already in place, and the pleasure is palpable.
A monumental effort from a vintage that will go down as one of the recent greats. All the depth, concentration, and intensity imaginable are densely packed into a tight, firm, chewy package. Truly noble, this Phenomena belongs in every collector’s cellar.
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