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Bellissima Brunello!


An hour and a half south past Siena is Montalcino country and we dined and tasted with the Sesti’s, who are famously hospitable.

Each and every time one has the privilege of visiting them one comes away feeling blessed; we drank magnificently late into the night and talked broadly and noisily, blind tasted some old white burgundy courtesy of our great ally in Montalcino, Il Dottore, Graham Chidgey, who at 71 years young is looking very youthful, now there’s an advert for red wine, sunshine and great company.

The 2002 Brunello we drank in magnum was appallingly easy to drink and delicious now and over the next 3 years – the 2003 Brunello was lovely, a little tight now but will evolve beautifully. Terra Sienna 2004, their Bordeaux Blend was great, interesting and serious. I can’t recommend these wines and this wonderful family highly enough, it is a major privilege to work with them, and they really do enrich life.

The next day we tasted at Argiano, who’s Solengo 2005 Super Tuscan was a little closed but impressive. Very creamy, cassis and polished.

At Poggio di Sotto we met with the perpetually charming Pierro Palmucci, who definitely lights up when Robin appears. His Brunello 2003 is amazing and so it should be at the price. Burgundian in style, so healthy looking, will last and last and was my joint favourite wine of the week. Salvioni right in the heart of Brunello’s cellar is miniscule, blink and you miss it, but we tasted in barrel his 2006, 2005 and 2004 and then in bottle his 2003. Our allocations are tiny and we wish that we could get more – v. impressive, a wonderful modest man who is a genius winemaker – great labels and always in JC’s cellar. A couple of new contenders to the fold followed, Silvio Nardi and Colleoni, both fascinating informative visits and very good wines, we will see what happens.

To conclude what had been an epic week we had a feast up in the hills behind Greve in a truly amazing hotel owned and run by the most easy going, wonderful, generous hosts David and Catherine in their Villa Bordoni – the food is stratospheric, 13 individual very comfortable private rooms, secluded and a real antitode the hussle and bustle of London town.

Viva Italia!