When the Venetian Giuseppe Maria Sesti and his Welsh wife Sarah moved to Tuscany in the 1970s, they purchased the abandoned ruins of the hamlet and castle of Argiano. In the ensuing years, they cleared the overgrown land and restored the buildings, reviving, in all its glory, this magnificent estate. In a way, it’s unfathomable that such a stunning castle perched up on a hill and the surrounding woodland could have fallen into such neglect. But the abandonment also turned out to be a blessing, as the slopes the Sestis eventually planted to vines were home to a relatively untouched and thriving ecosystem, rich with native plant and animal life. And fortunately for the health of the soil and ecosystem, Giuseppe was exactly the right person to take over this slice of paradise. His background as an astronomer not only gave him a naturalist bent and a healthy skepticism of chemical treatment in the vines, but also allowed him to apply his knowledge of the moon’s influence on living things to his vineyard management and practices in the cellar—a methodology that is increasingly common today. In recent years, his daughter Elisa has overseen the domaine with the same ethos, pampering her hectares of organically and biodynamically grown Sangiovese vines as meticulously as if she were tending a backyard garden. This 2018 Rosso di Montalcino stands as a gorgeous testament to the health and quality of the Sangiovese grapes, delivering concentration alongside freshness and elegance, and fragrant notes of black cherries, mint, and tea.
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.
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