2017 Sesti – Castello di Argiano, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany, Italy.
It’s always a treat to drink and or taste these Sesti wines, especially their Brunello offerings, and this 2017 is lovely with the classic brooding dark fruits, dried roses, tobacco leaf, minty herb accents to a deep expression of blackberry, plum, cherry and balsamic strawberry fruits along with subtle leathery/earth, cedar, coco powder and anise, which makes it a touch fresher than the Riserva that I reviewed previously. Sesti, like left bank Bordeaux, makes a full bodied, but not heavy version of Brunello, with this wine having structural tannin and acidity, but delivered with a sense of grace and rustic charm.The winemaking, according to Kermit Lynch, who imports these wines, is done in old school fashion, with 100% de-stemmed grapes being macerated and fermented in stainless steel and then aged in large oak (30 HL ) botti (cask) for over three years and another year in or so in the cellar bottled, before release. Siesta’s terroir is distinctive, being higher elevation, with the Brunello coming from 20 plus year old vines, up at around 350 meters above sea level, set on marine or oceanic sediment, rather than volcanic or limestone, seen in other parts of the zone. While the collector world scramble for the just released 2019 Brunello di Montalcinos and prepare to wait decades, this tasty deep garnet hued 2017 is showing well now and has tons of personality and character to be enjoyed now and for the next 5 to 7 years with ease, though serious enough to age much further.

I tasted the current wines, with Elisa Sesti, who I had met with on a couple occasions while she toured the States, at importer Kermit Lynch’s 50th Anniversary portfolio tasting in November of 2023, which included the Riserva Phenomena and this vintage Brunello di Montalcino. Also, since 2010. I have also loved the Sesti Monteleccio Rosso and the Rosso di Montalcino DOC, which are both savvy values and can be enjoyed young. In 1975, Giuseppe Maria “Giugi” Sesti, according to importer Kermit Lynch, moved his family to Tuscany and bought the Castello di Argiano, a historic ruins and began to form ideas of a planting a vineyard there within the Montalcino commune and starting a winery, that he founded in 1987, which didn’t realize much of anything until around 1991, when his first Sangiovese (Grosso) vines were in the ground around the old castle. In fact, Giugi really didn’t get much done until his talented daughter Elisa put herself in charge of things at Sesti in around 1999, though he did believe that the potential to produce great wines was there, and only if they farmed organic and that the wines were made with natural methods, which he pursued from the beginning here. After Elisa Sesti, joined the family estate full time, she was active in all aspects of the vineyard management, promotional work and the winemaking, which has taken this lesser known property to international fame and these traditional styled wines are now some of the region’s best and most coveted offerings. I really enjoyed this regular Sesti Brunello di Montalcino, which was in the large wood for 39 months, almost a year less than the Riserva, and I would recommend to Brunello fans.
($120 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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