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2017 Rosso di Montalcino

Sesti

When it comes to the marked contrasts of neighboring microclimates, Montalcino in southern Tuscany gives the Bay Area a run for its money. Summer 2017 was infernally hot in western Europe, with the heat wave 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 in the soil when it rains without drastically altering the soil structure. These factors combined to make an admirably restrained Rosso di Montalcino with notes of cherries, mint, and tomato—and likely lots of longevity. Pair it with roast rosemary chicken and potatoes, a wild mushroom polenta, or Chris Lee’s braised lamb shoulder for an exquisite fall feast.

Tom Wolf

$40.00
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2017
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Sangiovese
Appellation: Rosso di Montalcino
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Sesti
Vineyard: 15 years, 2 ha total Brunello
Soil: Oceanic Sediment
Aging: Eighteen months of élevage in 30-hectoliter oak botti, two months of bottle aging before release
Farming: Organic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14%

More from this Producer or Region

About Tuscany

map of Tuscany

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.

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When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:

1. Big wines do not age better than light wine.
2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration.
3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them.
4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would.
5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.

Inspiring Thirst, page 174

Kermit once said...
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