A Visit to Sesti
Today’s guest blogger is Delia Dent, an employee in our office in France…
Last week I had the great pleasure of spending a few days visiting our Italian estates with Bruce Neyers, our national sales director, and two of our important clients. Every visit was a delight, both for the wines and for the experience, but I will restrict myself here to just one tasting.
The Sesti estate is relatively new to KLWM; we were introduced to them in the spring of 2008 and eagerly added them to our portfolio shortly after. The storybook property, which has already been featured in Kermit’s brochure (you can see his wife Gail’s photograph of the castle in the April 2010 issue), was one of a chain of lookouts during the wars between Florence and Siena, so they obviously have an outstanding view. The family now has a cluster of buildings on the property, a terrace and garden around their own house, and potted lemon trees lining the paths. My favorite spot here is a deliberately overgrown garden that they created as an enticement and haven for all sorts of creepy crawly critters to encourage biodiversity on the property.
When I am in such company I generally think it’s wise to keep my mouth shut and my ears open so I’ll learn as much as possible, but there is a quality to these wines that has struck me ever since I first visited this estate that I think is worth mentioning: I have always found the Sesti wines to be surprisingly clean (without sacrificing the least bit of oomph, of course), and this tasting reinforced that impression. I would never have imagined that I’d describe a Brunello, or even a “lesser” Sangiovese, as refreshing, but the entire Sesti lineup has that quality.
We started with the 2009 Rosato (19.95), which is beautifully floral over its classic strawberry notes and gracefully vanishes from a light finish. The 2008 Monteleccio ($22.00) (which is an Italian version of the Latin name Montalcino, meaning “hill of the holm oaks”) goes down easy, with distinctively Sangiovese Grosso tannins and nice hints of réglisse and tobacco. There is naturally more complexity and a bit of spice on the 2008 Rosso di Montalcino ($32.00), which is very mineral and has an impressively long finish for a Rosso. The same minerality shone in the 2005 Brunello ($79.00), which has a slight metallic note along with the classic profile that hovers around earth, leather, and réglisse.
The series fluidly leads to the 2004 Brunello Riserva Phenomena ($110.00), which gives a richer, more developed interpretation of the same family of flavors with an exhilarating spicy side and, to return to my original point, a dazzling freshness that left my mouth feeling cleansed and ready for more.
The last red of the tasting shifted gears away from Sangiovese with the 2006 Castello Sesti ($59.00), a Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend that shows off much deeper, purple fruits, rougher tannins, and grilled notes. The Sestis always keep their white wine for the end of the tasting, and in this case the fresh, fruity 2009 Sauvignon ($19.95) also carried us to the table under an arbor in their garden for one of their marvelous meals with dishes that are as honest and natural as the wines.