Castello di Ama

Haiku – 2019


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
  • Altitude: 1375 – 1640 feet
  • Exposure: North-West/South-East
  • Soil: Clay and limestone
  • Planting Density: 5200 plants/ha
  • Vine Training System: Vertical trellis, single Guyot for Merlot and Cabernet Franc, spurred cordon for Sangiovese
  • Clonal selections: Cabernet Franc 214, Merlot 181 & 343, Sangiovese CH21, CH22, CC2002, CC2004, rootstock 420A
Harvest Notes
  • 2019 began with very cold temperatures and considerable day-night diurnal swings
  • January snows gave way to a warming February
  • Early spring quite cold and rainy, limiting flowering and the numbers of clusters per vine
  • Warm and dry summer
  • Hand harvested between 9/5 – 10/10/2019
  • Varieties fermented separately using only ambient yeasts in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures 86-89ºF
  • Manual pumpovers
  • Total cuvaison 23 days for Sangiovese, 26 days for Merlot, 23 days for Cabernet Franc
  • After first racking, wines transfered to steel tanks for malolactic fermentation
  • Blended after malolactic fermentation complete
  • Wines aged in 24% new oak barrels of thin grain
Winemaker's Notes

Intense purple-red with ruby-red highlights. A fruit of the forest nose with raspberry and black currants, with spicy pepper, wild herbs and tobacco notes. A good attack on the palate with distinct varietal notes. The wine is intrinsically elegant with a natural freshness and silky finish.

Wine Summary

50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot; alcohol: 13.5%; altitude 1375 – 1640 feet ; soils calcareous with limestone; wide diurnal temperature swings led to extraordinary polyphenol development; varieties fermented in stainless steel using only indigenous yeasts; cuvaison of 23 days for Sangiovese, 25 days for Merlot, 24 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: 14%
  • Total Acidity: 5.1 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: < 1 g/l
  • Extract: 31 m/l


96 Points

The 2019 Haiku is captivating. Bright and expressive, with brisk acids, the 2019 hits all the right notes. Black cherry, plum, incense, tobacco, crushed rocks and lavender race across the palate. I see more depth and also greater energy than in earlier vintages here, and that’s great to see. 2024 – 2037

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, June, 2022

95 Points

The Castello di Ama 2019 Haiku is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Marco Pallanti calls it “the alter ego of San Lorenzo,” and the association to Japanese poetry is meant to portray “something simple that means a lot,” he tells me during my visit to the estate. However, the Tuscan imprint is very strong in this wine, and although Merlot suffers from a changing climate, the Cabernet Franc imparts a firm and lasting textural impact. The Sangiovese brings in ruby fruit, rose, herb and fresh acidity. The 2019 vintage is big-boned, but it moves with grace and precision. 2023 – 2040

© Wine Advocate, February, 2023

93 Points

A fresh and crunchy red with some fine tannins and lovely energy. Blackberries and raspberries with citrus-rind undertones. Medium body. A sangiovese, cabernet franc and merlot blend. Drink or hold., September, 2022

92 Points

Saturated with blackberry, plum, earth and iron flavors, this red is dense and monolithic today. Though firmly built, this has ripe, well-integrated tannins and a long finish, which echoes the fruit. Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Best from 2025 through 2040.

Wine Spectator, June, 2023

94 Points

Castello di Ama’s IGT bottling of Haiku was only first produced in the 2016 vintage, so this is one of the newest top bottlings in the firmament of Super Tuscans. The wine is made from a cépages of fifty percent sangiovese and twenty-five percent each of merlot and cabernet franc. The wine is fermented with native yeasts and undergoes malo in tank, with the wine then aged in just under one-quarter new casks prior to bottling. The 2019 Haiku comes in at fourteen percent octane and offers up a very complex and refined aromatic constellation of dark berries, black cherries, espresso, chalky soil tones, cigar ash, a touch of fresh oregano, woodsmoke and a deft framing of nutty oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, structured and quite elegant in profile, with a rock solid core of fruit, ripe, firm tannins, lovely focus and grip, good soil undertow and a very long, well balanced and nascently complex finish. This will need plenty of bottle age to soften up its backend tannins, but once it is ready to drink, it is going to be outstanding and very long-lived wine. 2035 – 2080

View From The Cellar, November, 2023

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