Castello di Ama

San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 2015


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 (80%), Malvasia Nera (7%), Merlot (13%) Planted 1974, 1978, 1996 Clay and calcareous 87.5 acres/35.42 ha

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

Castello di Ama San Lorenzo, takes its name from the lovely valley that is home to the 18th-century villas Pianigiani and Ricucci. This wine is made entirely by our estate grapes, coming specifically from old vine systems and from vineyards of more than 10 years old. Gran Selezione stands on the top of the quality pyramid of Chianti Classico and it is a guarantee for the consumer, both in terms of origin and in terms of quality. The production regulation makes obligatory that the grapes are totally produced in the estate and that the wine is released in the market 30 months after the harvest.

Wines from vintage 2015 are fresh, with a nice alcohol degree and fruity, due to the significant temperature excursions between night and day during autumn which facilitated the aromatic structures.  Summer started late and first veraison was in early August.  Until mid-September therw ere sunny days and summer heat, then temperatures dropped again, especially at night.  After several samples and organoleptic analysis in our vineyards and laboratory, harvest has been carried out by hand in 10-12 kg crates on the 14th-16th of September for Merlot, on September 25th for Malvasia Nera and from October 2nd-6th for Sangiovese.

Exposure:  North-East/South-West – North-East/South-East

Soil: clay and calcareous

Altitude: 1510-1720 feet above sea level

Vine Density:  from 5,500 to 2,800 vines/ha

Clone Selections:  Sangiovese CC2000 1, CC2000 2, CC2000 4, CC2000 5, Merlot 343, 347.  Malvasia N MN6.  Portainnesto 420.

Harvest Notes

Vinification has started through ambient yeasts, separately for each grape variety, in steel tanks at controlled temperature between 86° and 89°F, with manual pumping over and a total cuvaison of 22 days for Sangiovese, 25 days for Merlot and 26 days for Malvasia Nera. After the first draining off, the wine was transferred into barriques for malolactic fermentation.

The assemblage of the three grape varieties takes place at the end of the malolactic fermentation. Afterwards the wine is transferred into oak barrique – of which 18% are new – of fine grain for approximately 10 months.  This wine has been bottled in July 2017.

Winemaker's Notes
  • Color:  pure ruby-red
  • Nose:  fruity with cherry and strawberry notes.  Some tertiary hints remind leather.
  • Taste:  ripen red fruits, succulent, intriguing and long-lasting.  Tannins are ripen and delicate.  The aftertaste expresses a lively freshness with notes of dark red fruits, wet ground and wood.
Wine Summary
  • Made from Sangiovese (80%), Malvasia Nera (7%) and Merlot (13%) grapes.
  • Vine age – planted 1974, 1978, 1996.
  • Fermented in stainless steel at around 86-89°F.
  • Aged in barriques, 20% new and the remainder second passage barriques.
  • Aged for approximately 12 months in barrel and approximately 18 months in bottle.
  • “Gran Selezione” was created as a new designation of Chianti Classico with requirements beyond those of Chianti Classico Riserva. Requirements are:
  1. wine must be sourced only from estate grown grapes,
  2. minimum alcohol level of 13.0%,
  3. minimum extract of 26 g/l,
  4. total aging (barrel and bottle combined) of 30 months before release, and
  5. minimum bottle age 3 months. 2010 was the first vintage that was allowed to use the Gran Selezione designation.
Technical Information
  • Grape varieties: 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total acidity: 5.2 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: <0,5 g/l
  • Extract: 40.4 m/l


95 Points

What first strikes you about the nose is that it offers one of the purest fruit expressions of all the 2015 Gran Seleziones. Blackcurrants, orange and lemon rind, brambleberries, heather, sage, thyme and blackberry leaves are all a feature. The tannins are steely, and the flavors are so savory. The fruit is carried through to the long, chewy finish by the highly refreshing acidity. Drink in 2020., September, 2018

90 Points

An elegant version, saturated with black cherry, blackberry, graphite and tar flavors, this red delivers a solid backbone of tannins and bright acidity.  Finishes on the tannic side.  Best from 2021 through 2029.  850 cases imported.

Wine Spectator, October, 2018

95 Points

The 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo represents a blend of some of the estate’s best Sangiovese from vines that are 20 years old and more.  You do feel that extra density, intensity and complexity within the very fiber of this beautiful wine.  The effect is deep and layered.  Castello di Ama is characterized by limestone clay soils mixed with both galestro and alberese marl stones.  There is about 60 centimeters of topsoil and compacted clay below that.

© Wine Advocate, October, 2018

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