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2018 Brunello di Montalcino

Sesti
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When Giuseppe and Sarah Sesti moved to Tuscany in the 1970s, they settled not in Florence or Siena, but among the abandoned ruins of the medieval Castello di Argiano outside of sleepy Montalcino at the region’s southern end. In the half-century since, they have restored the castle and overgrown land, reviving this magnificent estate in all its glory and turning it into one of the most respected sources of Brunello di Montalcino.
     It might be hard to understand how this stunning hillside castle and the surrounding woodland could have fallen into such neglect, but its prior abandonment turned out to be a blessing in disguise: the slopes Giuseppe and Sarah 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, they were exactly the right people to take over this corner of paradise. Giuseppe’s background as an astronomer gave him a naturalist bent and a healthy skepticism of chemical treatment in the vines. It 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. This 2018 Brunello di Montalcino stands as a gorgeous testament to the Sesti family’s half-century of stewardship of this land. Ample, deep, and succulent, this enthralling Brunello is already highly rewarding.

Tom Wolf

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2018
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Sangiovese
Appellation: Brunello di Montalcino
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Sesti
Winemaker: Elisa Sesti
Vineyard: 20 years, 3.9 ha total Brunello
Soil: Oceanic Sediment
Aging: Thirty-nine months of élevage in 30-hectoliter oak botti
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14.5%

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About The Region

Tuscany

Map of Tuscany wine region

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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Sampling wine out of the barrel.

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

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