The Toscana Rosso “Monteleccio” is the Usain Bolt of Sesti’s Olympian lineup: explosive, flashy, and usually built for the relatively short-distance sprint. Made from Sangiovese vines planted in oceanic sediment in the heart of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation, this bottling is divided from the Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino in the cellar, where Elisa Sesti and her father, Giuseppe, decide which barrels hold the juice best suited for each bottling. Derived from the Latin name for Montalcino—“hill of the holm oaks”—Monteleccio is an enormously pleasurable, populist wine that evokes juicy, ripe cherries, rhubarb, and a touch of mint. This rosso is filled with class, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. That said, even though Usain Bolt is probably best known for the 100-meter dash, he also holds the world record for the 200-meter. Have you ever seen him run more? I haven’t, but I bet he’d stun even in the 400-meter. This Monteleccio can probably also go the distance beyond the short, explosive sprint we love it for. That is where the nobility of the Brunello-quality grapes comes in. Succulent and tightly coiled, with a beautifully integrated tannin and outstanding finesse, this “baby Brunello” punches way above its weight and will serve you well again and again!
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.
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.
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