|Brunello di Montalcino... cobwebs and all|
I had arranged to visit Sesti during a Kermit Lynch wine tasting at the Wine Loft. Kermit Lynch (KL) is a wine importer of mostly French and Italian wines. I am a big fan of KL and some of the Sesti wines are available to us in Flagstaff. Lyle, who was pouring from KL and I had a discussion about my trip and I inquired about possible vineyard visits. He immediately recommended Sesti and the location (about 15 km south of Montalcino) was perfect for my itinerary. He arranged it all with Elisa, who is the daughter of Giuseppe Sesti, who founded the vineyard in the seventies.
|Brunello aging in medium sized oak barrels|
Elisa first gave me a tour of the estate. We went to the fermentation rooms. We also visited the aging cellar which is under the tower of the castello. The views from the estate were breathtaking. The entire estate is actually 102 hectares and they have chosen to keep about 90% of it to the forest and wildlands. This helps buffer the vines from the other vineyards that may be using chemicals on their vines and it insures a natural environment for the grapes.
I will go through the wines in the order we tasted.
We started with the '09 Rosato I.G.T. Its a rose made with 100% Sangiovese... very untraditional. In fact, Giuseppe decided to make this mostly because 2008 (the first Rosato vintage) was a hot summer and the family was craving a rose. When the wine was shared with others at VinItaly, it was a hit. It was chewy and very crisp. The acidity of the Sangiovese was shining through at the finish. It hit the spot after the long bike ride.
|All vinticulture at Sesti is done in relation to the cycles|
of the moon. This is a book Giuseppe wrote on the subject.
Now we moved up the '05 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. I ended up buying a bottle of this. This is a classic wine. Some say the best in Italy. By law its 100% Sangiovese, aged for 4 years (in medium-sized barrels at Sesti), and one year of bottle aging. It was a full-bodied wine, still transparent in the glass, but the tanins were still subtle and the acidity nice and sharp. The subtle tanins contrasts with other full-bodied wines (e.g. Cabernet or Merlot) that typically have more tanins.
|one of the prints from the 1999 phenomena...|
hey, I'm a Leo!
Finally, we had the '06 Castello Sesti. Its a blend of 60% Cabernet and 40% Merlot. Giuseppe grew up drinking wines with these grapes and he wanted to see how they would do in Montalcino. It was a traditional full-bodied wine. This time not transparent and lots of tanins.
|the olive oil on the left was picked and pressed yesterday|
We did one more tasting before I left.... the estate olive oil. This was an entirely new experience for me. They had just picked and cold-pressed a batch the day before so I was really in for a treat. We also tasted last year's pick. Wow, talk about a mouthful. So creamy and then a nice peppery kick at the end. I stated that I felt I could actually taste the color green. "Freshness" is just not enough to explain the flavor.
Elisa gave me a final tour of the church and the two farmhouses. There is so much detail and history here. The different shapes and cuts of the stone corresponding to different eras, the patterns in the flooring, the arch architecture... I felt so humbled by a place with so much history and I felt so encapsulated by Elisa's passion for her home and Sangiovese. The final stop was at the wood-fired oven. Elisa knew I would like this. It was built in the Renaissance and is still used today by the family. I wished so much for my peel and dough, but my time to depart was nearing as the light was fading and I had about 15 km of uphill riding to do. Hugs and kisses were shared and a most sincere goodbye. The memory of this place will be one I will constantly return to, especially when I toast a glass of Sesti.
|the wood-fired oven at Sesti|