Sesti’s new Brunello is seductive, tuned up, honed to perfection, and screaming out of the Brunellian gates. It can be enjoyed immediately or savored for many years (store it in a good cellar). There is nothing quite like a great bottle of Brunello when it is ripe for the picking.
Start with its deep, luscious nose. The wine is savory, thick, juicy, wonderfully saucy, almost truffly, with a sensation of freshly turned earth. In my notes taken while tasting it for the first time in April at the Castello di Argiano, Sesti’s hilltop estate, I compared it to a vinous ragù that has been cooked down for a long time with tomatoes and herbs. “Drink with pasta as if sauce,” I wrote. (You should probably still include the pasta sauce.) It also possesses a lovely tannin that is fine and thirst-enhancing with zero aggression.
There are so many Brunelli out there to choose from these days. We think this is one of the very best, and it never disappoints. Proprietor Giuseppe Sesti, an astronomer from Venice who has been deeply involved in his own blend of organic/biodynamic/cosmic viticulture ever since he purchased his estate in the seventies, explained the secret of his land to me recently: “The ancients talked of the aria buona di Argiano [good air of Argiano]. The castello is perched on a promontory surrounded by two valleys that channel cooling winds from the Mediterranean up to the vineyards, keeping the vines cool throughout the summer despite the sometimes scorching heat.” This is one of the most important keys to the perennial freshness of Sesti’s Brunello: with wine—as in real estate—location, location, location. –Dixon Brooke
Giuseppe Sesti didn’t initially choose a career in wine. Instead, he was inspired to study music, art, and astronomy, the latter becoming his profession. He met his future wife in Wales while writing his first book, and in 1975 moved to Tuscany, purchasing the abandoned castle of Argiano, slowly restoring the breathtaking estate later planting his vineyards around the castle. In 1999 the Sesti’s daughter, Elisa, joined the estate full time, becoming a partner in all aspects of production. The Sesti lineup includes a white Sauvignon and a Rosato, but their Brunello, Brunello Riserva, and Rosso di Montalcino provide traditional expressions of the appellation, robust and powerful yet refreshing, with great aging potential.
Perhaps no region is tied to Italy’s reputation as a producer of fine wine as much as Tuscany. Since Etruscan times, viticulture has played a prominent role in this idyllic land of rolling hills, and the Tuscan winemaking tradition remains as strong as ever today. With a favorable Mediterranean climate, an undulating topography offering countless altitudes and expositions, and a wealth of poor, well-draining soils, conditions are ideal for crafting high-quality wines. Add to that the rich gastronomical tradition—Tuscany is home to some of the country’s finest game, pastas, salumi, and cheeses—and you have the blueprint for a world-class wine region.
This is Sangiovese territory; in fact, it is arguably the only place in the world where Sangiovese reaches a truly regal expression. In spite of a rocky history with fluctuations in quality, traditionally produced Chianti has reclaimed its status as one of the country’s most reliable, food-friendly reds, while the rapid rise of Brunello di Montalcino shows the grape’s potential for grandiose, opulent reds allying power and finesse. Traditionally-minded growers have stuck to using only indigenous grape varieties and employing techniques like aging in massive wooden casks known as botti, creating wines of terroir that shine at the Tuscan table.
Tuscan wines have had a place in our portfolio since Kermit’s first visit in 1977. While the names of the estates have changed, the spirit of those first unfiltered Chiantis he imported live on through our current selections.
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.
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