Taking its name from the beautiful valley from which it originates, the San Lorenzo Gran Selezione Chianti Classico is produced from the oldest vines of Castello di Ama. A remarkable aromatic harmony, beautiful power and a supple roundness are all hallmarks of this charming wine. The richness of Castello di Ama’s terroir – its soil, its ideally distributed vineyard plots, and its divine Tuscan climate – provides all of the ingredients to produce emblematic Chianti Classico wines, like Vigneto La Cassucia or San Lorenzo Gran Selezione.
History of Castello di Ama
Castello di Ama (or “castle of Ama”), gets its name from an agricultural hamlet perched atop a hill in Chianti, at an altitude of nearly 500 meters. Centuries ago, this place was a center of wine production for several prominent local families, including the Pianigiani, Ricucci and Montiagiani. In the 18th century, Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Habsburg-Lorraine paid a visit to Ama, an event commemorated by a plaque on one of the original buildings of the hamlet. The Castello di Ama winery was founded in the 1970’s, when a group of families fell in love with this historic area and realized the grand potential of its vines. Today, the winery is operated by Lorenza Sebasti, the daughter of one of the winery’s founders, and Marco Pallanti, a Tuscan-born winemaker who learned his craft in Tuscany and perfected it abroad, in France. The couple have kept two of the many historical houses to be found in the stone borgo (estate village), Villa Pianigiani and Villa Ricucci.
Over the course of 3 decades, the talent and dedication of Lorenza and Marco have been recognized on several occasions. Marco was named Winemaker of the Year in the 2003 edition of Gambero Rosso’s highly regarded Vini d’Italia. Two years later, in 2005, Castello di Ama was named Best Winery of the Year by the same wine guide. In 2010, the estate’s beautiful San Lorenzo cuvee was ranked 6th in the world on Wine Spectator’s Best Wines of the World list. Very active in the politics of the appellation, Marco also served two terms as the president of the Consorzio del Chianti Classico.
The Unique Terroirs and Wines of Castello di Ama
The Castello di Ama estate stretches over 80 hectares (198 acres) of vineyards, which are located at altitudes ranging from 450 to 550 meters above sea level, at a radius of 3 kilometers from the historic hamlet of Ama. The property can be divided into four valleys, each with its own unique set of characteristics.
- Vigneto Bellavista, purchased in 1972, covers 23.76 hectares (58.71 acres) of south and south-western facing vines planted in rocky clay and limestone soils. Since the vintage of 1978, the grapes from this region have been used to produce the estate’s ultra-premium Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico cru, a wine produced exclusively in the best years. This single-vineyard wine blends 80% Sangiovese and 20% Malvasia Nera, aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak. The Bellavista vineyards are also home to a small plot of 35 year old Merlot vines, from which the 100% Merlot mercurial L’Apparita cuvee is produced.
- Vigneto La Casuccia, which was also purchased in 1972, stretches over 18.5 hectares (45.7 acres) of soil rich in clay with some pebbles and gravel. The west and south-west facing vines bear the ripe fruit used to produce the single-vineyard Vigneto La Casuccia Chianti Classico cru. This cuvee contains a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot from 35 year old vines, aged in 50% new oak.
- Vigneto San Lorenzo, acquired in 1972, was named after a nearby church dedicated to the saint. The vineyards expand over 19.17 hectares of east-southeast facing vines planted in calcareous soils with a significant percentage of shale.
- Vigneto Montebuoni, acquired in 1997, was named after a small village located nearby. The south-southwest facing vines cover 14.31 hectares and are planted in fairly varied soils. The latter range from clay in the lower parts of the valley to calcareous and stony soils in higher areas.
Castello di Ama: Where Wine Meets Art
In the 1990’s Lorenza and Marco embarked on a quest to make their winery a hub for some of the world’s most talented and influential artists. Each year, artists from around the world are invited to Castello di Ama to work on large-scale legacy projects, built on site throughout the natural terroir and between the houses making up the village. The estate has doubled as the home to several exhibitions, featuring works by Anish Kapoor in a historic chapel, a peculiar sculpture-fountain by Louise Bourgeois and two marble structures commissioned by Hiroshi Sugimoto. These spectacular works not only bring attention to the estate’s beautiful natural landscape, but – as Lorenza and Marco believe – also provide the vines with the peaceful, positive energy they need to produce remarkable wines.
Focus on the San Lorenzo Gran Selezione 2013
The San Lorenzo Gran Selezione 2013 from Castello di Ama takes its name from the San Lorenzo valley, home to the 18th century villas of the Pianigiani and Ricucci families. The wine is produced from old plots of vines planted in very pebbly clay and limestone soils at an altitude of 461-525 meters above sea level. The Gran Selezione label represents the highest level of wine produced in the prestigious Chianti Classico appellation, offering the taster a guarantee of origin and of quality. All grapes used to produce this cuvee are grown by Castello di Ama and the wine hits the market 30 months after harvest. The signature blend, produced from the 2010 vintage onward, comprises 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot and 7% Malvasia Nera.Discover this Wine Browse our Selection from Castello di Ama