Sesta is a highly regarded sub-zone of in the south-south east of Montalcino, between Castelnuovo dell’Abate to the east, Sant’Angelo in Colle to the west, and the Orcia river to the south. It can be considered southern Montalcino’s equivalent of Montosoli, a terroir which allows vines largely to self-regulate. Sesta is a hot, dry spot being in the warmer, lower-lying southern part of Montalcino. Mount Amiata to the south acts as a rain blocker. Sesta’s advantage is that its sub-soils contain a water-retentive blue clay. One theory is that this was deposited by the course the Orcia river when this ran from Sant’Angelo in Colle via Sesta rather than via Castelnuovo dell’Abate. This would appear to have some foundation (no pun intended) in that river-round-like stones (sassi tondi) are found in the soil. Sesta’s soil profile is very consistent and homogeneous. The soil dates from the Eocene period, and is poor, shallow, somewhat rocky, with limestone (marl and alberese), generally medium textured, and tending to clayey with a sub-alkaline pH (6-6.7).

History | The name Sesta derives from a sesta or sixth milestone located where the Parish Church (‘pieve’) of Saint Mary of Sexta once stood on the route between the two Etruscan towns of Roselle (near the Tuscan coast to the south west, in what is now Grosseto province), and Chiusi in further inland and to the east in the equally strategically important Val di Chiana. In AD 714 the “Carta Aretina” counted the Pieve di Sesta among the parishes in the Diocese of Chiusi. In the following centuries it was the subject of dispute between the Bishops of Siena and Arezzo. It is not known how long this Parish remained in operation, but it is likely that it ended shortly after nearby Valle Storcia was founded at the end of the VIII century, and after the rapid expansion of the Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Castelnuovo dell’Abate to the west. Land on the Sesta property probably became part of the holdings of the Abbey. The Sesta estate was formed after the expansion of the Republic of Siena and the decline and subsequent suppression of the Abbey of Sant’Antimo in 1462 at the hands of the Sienese Pope Pious II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini). During the period of Sienese expansion, Sesta came into the possession of the noble Tolomei family who built a chapel in honour of Saint Catherine of Siena. It subsequently changed hands several times before being acquired by Felice and Giovanni Ciacci, two brothers from Castelnuovo dell’Abate, in 1895 (see the link to Tenuta de Sesta, below).

Terroir | The vegetation in Sesta is more obviously Mediterranean compared to that of northern Montalcino, as the presence of plants like myrtle, juniper and lentisk (mastic) demonstrate.

Wine style | The wines are sapid, elegant, and ripe and get riper as one nears Castelnuovo-dell’Abate. The wines show well when young and mature in the mid- to medium term.

Wineries

Certified organic | Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona. | Collemattoni. | Piancornello.

No certification | Casanova di Neri. | Podere Giodo. | Sesta di Sopra. | Siro Pacenti. | Tenuta di Collosorbo. | Tenuta di Sesta