Sesta di Sopra, garage wines from Montalcino!
I first discovered Sesta di Sopra after a guest from our agriturismo Fonte Aulente in Montalcino described Ettore’s wines with a quality “they did not know even existed in wine”. You understand, I was obliged to check out such a place.
After meeting with Ettore and Enrica and tasting their wines, I have literally fallen in love with them. The energy and expressiveness of those wines still remain with me as a special moment. The many other tastings have proven that the rich character with wild berries and spices over time gives place to intense, velvety soft and complex wines. It is one of the smallest Montalcino estates and produces only about 4000 bottles of Brunello each year. Truly boutique winery.
The terroir and the story
Sesta is situated in the Southeastern part of Montalcino, an area defined by Ian d’Agata from Decanter as one of the 10 best terroirs in Italy. Sesta di Sopra is a tiny vineyard of 7 acres (2,5 ha) situated on their 108-acre property. The average elevation of the vineyard is 350 m above sea level. Ettore (84) and Enrica (78) have restored the buildings dating back to the 12th century and started their vineyard some 30 years ago.
Ettore used to work as a successful bank manager in Torino before planting his first vineyard in Montalcino 27 years ago.
ME: "What is the difference between managing the bank and running a winery?"
ETTORE: "In many ways, it is the same method. You need hard work, study, discipline, honesty, talent, and last but not the least, my wife. She is my boss."
Ettore planted his first vineyard in 1995. He then had to wait 4 years before the vines were mature enough to be harvested, and then another 5 years to be able to put his Brunello on the market. His first vintage was 1999 and it was put on the market in 2004.
It was an immediate success as they got 95 points from Wine Spectator!
Our September Selection Brunello 2012
TASTING NOTES: 2012 Brunello by Sesta di Sopra opens up in a wonderful way, immediately catching your attention. Fruit forward and dynamic with wild cherries and blackberries, it already starts to reveal incredible complexity: spices of licorice and pepper, earthy notes, young leather and tobacco, dark chocolate. Rich character, already enjoyable, will presumably evolve into a very profound and elegant wine.
DRINKING WINDOW: from now ( still young but enjoyable) till 2030 ( at least)
PAIRINGS: Pecorino di Pienza stagionato, red meat with mildly aromatic sauce
FOR THE WINE GEEKS: 2012 was very warm vintage in Montalcino, it gave good results although low yields. Sesta di Sopra was in a particular good situation as for its higher altitude of 380 meters above sea level and its older age of vines with deeper roots. The grapes manually harvested went to pre-fermentative maceration at a low temperature and then the fermentation in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. Following 42 months in a large Slavonian oak cask and at least 6 months in a bottle.
Production methods differ for Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino
Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino are distinctive wines. Although they both come from 100% Sangiovese, the Rosso is usually aged for a much shorter time period. This comes across in the wines.
After the fermentation in stainless steel container in a controlled temperature, Brunello is aged in 30hl large Slavonian oak barrels (note that the whole yearly production gets in ONE 30 hl barrel here!). This is the traditional way of making a Brunello and gives the typical fruit and early notes synchronization which evolve in time into a fusion of very elegant structure with complex and smooth tones. The energy and expressiveness is present from the beginning till the end of evolution process. This wine is really a wonderful example of traditional yet distinguishable Brunello.
Rosso di Montalcino is aged in small French oak barrels for about 8 months with a technique called batonnage. Once a week, a lees added to the wine are put into suspension. This feeds the color, avoid tartaric precipitation and make the structure more pleasant and round.
What was your best vintage?
I love to ask this question:)
The 2015 was acclaimed an excellent vintage in Montalcino, and while we wait for the Brunello to be released in 2020, we can enjoy the 2015 Rosso already.
The 2015 Rosso by Sesta di Sopra is fruit forward, rounded by rose and violet flowery notes, backed by sweet spices and toasted aromas and flavors, with hints of mint and pine at the finish. Very enjoyable and versatile already, it has still place for improvements over time.
While Rosso is not in our September packaging you can purchase it from us by dropping us a direct email.
ME: "What is your best vintage ever? I know it is like asking a mother who her favorite child is, but I still like to ask it because winemakers have many interesting ways to reply. So, what is your best vintage?"
ETTORE: "The next one!"