Although he always enjoyed visiting vineyards and attending tastings, Giuseppe Maria “Giugi” Sesti did not initially choose a career in wine. Instead, his Venetian upbringing inspired him to study music, art, and astronomy, the last of which became his profession. He met his future wife in North Wales while writing his first book on this topic, and in 1975 Giugi and Sarah moved their family to Tuscany, where they bought the abandoned ruins of the hamlet and castle of Argiano, slowly clearing the land and restoring the buildings to create the breathtaking estate we see there today. Giugi was now a father of four, vice-director of a local Baroque opera festival, and actively writing books on astronomy, but he miraculously found spare time to visit local wineries and help his neighbors in the vineyards and cellar. His passion for wine grew along with his experience, and in 1991 he planted his own vineyards on the slopes around the castle. The children helped pick and stomp grapes from the earliest age, and though they, too, pursued international studies in various fields, they always managed to come home for the harvest. In 1999 the couple’s only daughter, Elisa, joined the estate full time, and today she is an active partner in all aspects of the vineyard management and winemaking.
While helping out at neighboring estates Giugi observed that simplicity and careful attention were the most important factors in producing great wines, while chemical intervention skewed their delicate balance; so he determined to make entirely natural wines right from the start. He even took a pioneering extra step by applying his prodigious knowledge of the moon’s influence on living things to his vineyard management and winemaking. Today the family continues this thoroughly eco-friendly philosophy (although no official certification currently meets their personal standards), and Elisa’s primary concern is the materia prima, or raw material, that goes into the wine. The Sesti lineup includes a white Sauvignon and a Sangiovese Rosato born directly of necessity, since the family wanted something light and cooling to drink under the hot summer sun; they were forced to increase production when visiting friends and clients tried these wines and started placing orders. But their basic trio—the Brunello, Brunello Riserva “Phenomena,” and Rosso di Montalcino—provides traditional expressions of the appellation, robust and powerful yet refreshing, with great aging potential in the Brunellos.