Castello di Ama

Montebuoni Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG – 2018


Castello di Ama

Castello di Ama was founded in 1976, and is located in Gaiole in Chianti, within the additional geographical unit of the same name (UGA), located in the heart of Tuscany. It is located about 12 miles northeast of Siena in the hills of Gaiole. This is the heart of Chianti Classico, a bucolic rolling landscape of woods, vineyards and olive groves.

The estate is currently helmed by CEO Lorenza Sebasti, a member of the second generation of one of the four founding families. Marco Pallanti, who was once the President of the Chianti Classico Consorzio, has been the winemaker and technical director at Castello di Ama since 1982.

The goal of the estate is to have each bottle of Castello di Ama express the uniqueness of the terroir, and be an authentic expression of the vintage. Ama has practiced sustainable viticulture since the end of the 1990s, and recently received Equalitas (Italy) certification.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

Castello di Ama purchased and replanted the Montebuoni vineyard in 1997, nestled on the slope of the hill parallel to Bellavista vineyard. Managed since then following the 3-pillar conception of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental. This 2018 vintage is the debut wine from this vineyard.

  • Altitude: 1375-1640 feet/420-500 meters
  • Soils: Clay and calcareous
  • Exposure: North-West/South-East
  • Vine Planting Density: 5200 vines/ha
  • Vine Training System: vertical trellis with single Guyot
  • Clonal Selections: Merlot 181 & 343, Sangiovese CH21, CH22, CC2002, CC2004; Rootstock 420A


Harvest Notes
  • 2018 experienced a great diurnal temperature swing in Autumn, producing good aroma development
  • 2018 wines will be fruity with an excellent freshness and good alcohol balance
  • Extraordinary polyphenol content producing thoroughbred wines, elegant, powerful with good body
  • Multiple samples and organoleptic analyses in vineyard and lab determined date of harvest
  • Hand harvesting began August 29 and finished October 15, into 10-12kg crates
  • Vinification with indigenous yeasts, separately for each variety,  in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures 82-86ºF
  • Manual pumpovers and total cuvaison for 24 days
  • After racking, wine goes through malolactic fermentation in oak barriques of thin grain for 12 months
  • Blended after malolactic fermentations complete
  • Bottled Spring 2020
Winemaker's Notes

This inaugural vintage of Montebuoni is a new, exclusive Chianti Classico Riserva from Castello di Ama. Deep ruby red color with purple nuances. The nose is fruit forward, carrying scents of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and currant. Well balanced, refined and harmonic taste, with a long-lasting aromatic profile. A pure expression of elegance.

Wine Summary

2018 the inaugural vintage of Riserva Montebuoni; 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot; alcohol: 13.5%; vineyard purchased and replanted 1997, on slope of hill parallel to Bellavista vineyard; harvested between August 29 & October 15; varieties vinified separately using only indigenous yeasts; blended after malolactic fermentations; aged 12 months in fine-grained oak barriques; bottled Spring 2020.

Technical Information
  • 95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot grapes
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.2 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: < 1 g/l
  • Extract: 30.2 m/l


91 Points

Bright black cherry and blackberry flavors highlight this round, fruity red. Lively acidity and fine-grained tannins are integrated and lend support. A touch of earth graces the finish. Drink now. 3,333 cases made, 250 cases imported

Wine Spectator, August, 2021

95 Points

Delicious and elegantly structured, this opens with alluring aromas of fragrant blue flower, black-skinned fruit, eucalyptus and espresso. On the savory, focused palate, bright acidity and lithe, fine-grained tannins accompany juicy black cherry, mocha, licorice and crushed mint. Drink through 2028.

Wine Enthusiast, September, 2021

92 Points

A brand-new wine for Castello di Ama, Montebuoni comes from a 14.5-hectare vineyard purchased and replanted in 1997. Adjacent to Vigna Bellavista, it sits between 420 and 500 metres above sea level with a northwest to southeast exposure. Immediately inviting ripe cherry and plums are punctuated by a parade of fresh fennel, mint, violet and allspice. Yet the palate is still tightly wound, with grainy tannins taking hold, and very racy acidity on the finish. If this develops as articulately as the nose suggests, it will be a beauty. Drinking Window 2023 – 2029

Decanter, April, 2021

92 Points

2018 is the inaugural vintage for this single vineyard bottling of Chianti Riserva, which Castello di Ama purchased and replanted in 1997. The wine is composed of a blend of ninety-five percent sangiovese and five percent merlot, with both varietals vinified separately with indigenous yeasts and blended right after the completion of malo. The wine is raised in barriques and comes in at 13.5 percent alcohol in this vintage. It offers up a deep, refined and nascently complex nose of red and black cherries, gamebird, a lovely base of soil tones, bonfire, a touch of fresh oregano and a nice topnote of cedar. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and tangy, with a lovely core of fruit, excellent soil signature and grip, ripe, moderate tannins and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is lovely Chianti that I would opt for tucking away for a couple of years in the cellar, but which is eminently drinkable now with a bit of aeration. 2023 – 2045

View From The Cellar, August, 2021

93 Points

A new wine in this range, the 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Montebuoni is effusive, deep and powerful. Black cherry, plum, spice, leather and dried herbs all open in the glass. Bright saline notes extend the finish nicely. The 2018 offers a compelling balance of fruit richness and energy. 2023 – 2038

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, September, 2021

93 Points

Here’s an exciting discovery from Castello di Ama. An inaugural vintage, the 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Montebuoni sources its fruit from a vineyard site planted next to the celebrated Bellavista parcel in 1997. Showing a classic Tuscan spirit that is playful and mischievous, this wine is beautiful and bright with loads of ripe and soft fruit flavors, spanning from cherry to plum and violets to potting soil. The wine is medium-bodied and lean, but it shows enough intensity and freshness to make a really nice and lasting impact on the palate. I can recommend a solid 10-year drinking window for this cheerful bottle. 2021 – 2028

© Wine Advocate, October, 2021

General Info

Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Appellation(s) Chianti Classico
Proprietor/CEO Lorenza Sebasti
Founded 1974
Winemaker Marco Pallanti
Annual Production 25,000 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Sustainable certified by Equalitas Italy