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2021 Toscana Rosso “Monteleccio”

Discount Eligible $29.00

In talking to Elisa Sesti, and learning about her family’s estate, it quickly becomes clear that daily life on the grounds of Castello di Argiano has carried over from a different time. The dilapidated, medieval castle named after Janus, a Roman god with two faces—one looking to the past, the other to the future—wasn’t an obvious place to settle down when her parents arrived in the 1970s. Locals nicknamed it Arginaccio (“ugly Argiano”) and il Viperaio (“the viper’s den”) after the serpents who took up residence while it lay abandoned. But the Sestis foresaw potential in the property, and a remote paradise in which to build a life.
   As their restoration plans advanced, they began planting Sangiovese, which Elisa calls “a primadonna variety” as it requires the attention of a devoted vigneron as well as just the right conditions to thrive. Luckily Argiano finds itself at the center of a privileged microclimate just 30 km from both the sea and mountains (the dormant Monte Amiata volcano), with vineyards protected by a dense forest. In summertime, their southern slopes allow fruit to achieve a balanced ripeness while a refreshing sea breeze aerates and cools down the vineyards. During the winter, these same winds provide hydration and humidity.
   In their lineup of world-class Brunellos and Rossos, the IGT Toscana plays an important role: it introduces Sangiovese to uninitiated palates by capturing the grape’s youthful charm, bright acidity, and punchy fruit qualities. The 2021 bottling is earthy, inviting, and zingy, and ready to drink and pair in abundance with Italian classics like tomato pastas and bean stews, or heartier, gamey Tuscan dishes. Farming for the “Monteleccio” is the same as for their Brunellos—they adhere strictly to lunar and planetary cycles to guide them—but the former, which is a selection of declassified Brunello fruit, spends just one year in large botti instead of three.
   In the spirit of Janus, for whom the month of January is also named, we’re embracing transition and starting the year right with Sesti’s “Monteleccio,” an apt symbol for new beginnings.

Jane Augustine

Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Sangiovese
Appellation: Toscana IGT
Country: Italy
Region: Tuscany
Producer: Sesti
Winemaker: Elisa Sesti
Vineyard: 15 years, 3 ha total IGT
Soil: Oceanic Sediment
Aging: One year of élevage in 30-hectoliter oak botti
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 14.5%

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About The Region


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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Inspiring Thirst

I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.

Inspiring Thirst, page 171