Castello di Ama

Haiku – 2017


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.

Grapes / Soils

Sangiovese (50%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Merlot (25%) Planted 1997-2001 Clay and limestone 2 ha Cab

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • Soils: Clay and limestone
  • Altitude: 1375 – 1640 feet
  • Exposure: North-West/South-East
  • Planting Density: 5200 plants/Ha
  • Vine Training System: Vertical trellis, single Guyot for Merlot and Cabernet Franc, spurred cordon for Sangiovese
  • Clonal selection: Cabernet Franc 214, Merlot 181 & 343, Sangiovese CH21, CH22, CC2002, CC2004, rootstock 420A
Harvest Notes
  • Cold and rainy at beginning of year
  • March temperatures exceeded average
  • Severe frost on April 21, which stopped the phenological development
  • May and June very hot until June 28, when temperatures cooled due to rain
  • August very hot, 104ºF maximum – 79ºF minimum until September 10th heavy rains
  • Hand harvested Merlot on September 6, Sangiovese on September 26, and Cabernet Franc on October 2
  • Each variety vinified separately using only indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks at 86-89ºF
  • Manual pumpovers with 23 days cuvaison for Sangiovese, 26 days for Merlot, and 24 days for Cabernet Franc
  • After racking wine transferred to stainless steel tanks for malolactic fermentation
  • Blending after malolactic fermentation, then transferred to oak barriques, 24% new
Winemaker's Notes

Intense purple red color with ruby-red nuances. The nose is fruity with fruits of the forest, including raspberry and blackcurrants, spicy with pepper, wild herbs and tobacco. On the palate, a good attack with clear identity of the grape varieties. The wine is intrinsically elegant and with a natural freshness evolving into a silky finish.

Wine Summary

50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot; alcohol: 13.5%; soils calcareous with limestone; altitude 1375 – 1640 feet; a variable growing season with significant heat May through August; varieties fermented in stainless steel using only indigenous yeasts; cuvaison of 23 days for Sangiovese, 25 days for Merlot, 23 days for Cabernet Franc; malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, then blended and aged in 24% new oak barriques.

Technical Information
  • 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.1 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: < 0.5 g/l
  • Extract: 33.1 m/l


94 Points

The Castello di Ama 2017 Haiku (a blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet Franc and Merlot in supporting roles) shows a rich and powerful center of gravity, all framed by lovely freshness and lots of rich fruit fiber. It sticks firmly to the palate with big fruit intensity, plum, blackberry, spice and cured tobacco. Haiku is a very unique wine within the context of Tuscany, and I’m not just referring to the unusual blend of grapes used here. This vintage offers darkness and a level of power that we don’t usually associate with Tuscany. Yet, good context is given because the Sangiovese grape adds an authentic Tuscan touch and gives the wine a sense of place. A mere 6,000 bottles were made. 2021-2035

© Wine Advocate, May, 2020

94 Points

Blackberry and walnut aromas with hints of dried chocolate powder. Blackcurrants, too. Medium-to full-bodied with fine, creamy tannins and a long, pretty finish. So delicious and beautiful now. Sangiovese with some merlot and cabernet franc. Drink and enjoy., July, 2020

93 Points

The 2017 Haiku is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Succulent dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice, new leather and licorice all flesh out in a racy, forward Tuscan red that can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring. Time in bottle should bring out more aromatic nuance and overall complexity. 2021 – 2030

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, September, 2020

93 Points

A lush mouthful of black currant and blackberry fruit is augmented by violet, rosemary and baking spices in this red, which is open and approachable, despite the dense, fine-grained tannins. Finishes long and fresh. Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Drink now through 2032.

Wine Spectator, August, 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