Castello di Ama

San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 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

Wine Blend Vine Age Soil Type Vineyard Area ha or acres
San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 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 is named after the picturesque San Lorenzo valley viewed from the estate’s eighteenth-century Villa Pianigiani and Villa Ricucci. This wine is produced from the finest grapes grown in the historic vineyards Bellavista, Casuccia, San Lorenzo and Montebuoni. An expression of Sangiovese blended with the smallest quantities of Merlot and Malvasia Nera, the hallmarks of this complex wine are finesse, elegance, intensity, length and freshness. Castello di Ama San Lorenzo has a remarkable ability to evolve, developing aromatic complexity and exemplary intensity over time.

  • Exposure:  North-East/South-West – North-East/South-East
  • Soil: clay and calcareous
  • Altitude: 1510-1720 feet/460-525 meters
  • Vine Density:  from 5,500 to 2,800 vines/ha
  • Vine training system:  Vertical trellis, single Guyot
  • Clone Selections:  Sangiovese CC2000 1, CC2000 2, CC2000 4, CC2000 5, Merlot 343, 347.  Malvasia N, MN6.  Rootstock 420
Harvest Notes
  • Cold and rainy start to 2017
  • Unusually warm March
  • Severe frost stopped phenological development of vines April 21
  • May and June very hot until rains at end of June
  • August extremely hot with maximum temperature of 104ºF, minimum 79ºF
  • Heavy rainstorm September 10, followed by coldest September in 15 years
  • Several samplings and organoleptic analysis in vineyards and laboratory
  • Hand harvesting into 10-12kg crates began August 21, finishing October 2
  • Each variety vinified separately using only ambient yeasts at controlled temperatures 86–91°F: manual pumpovers 22 days for Sangiovese, 25 days for Merlot, 26 days for Malvasia Nera
  • Blend assembled after malolactic fermentation complete, transferred to 22% new oak barriques for 12 months
  • Bottled in July 2019
Winemaker's Notes

Deep ruby red color. A fruity nose with red cherry, strawberry notes, zest of orange and liquorice. Some tertiary hints remind one of leather. On the palate, juicy and succulent with a silky, supple texture. Ripened red fruits emerge, intriguing and long lasting. The tannins are firm and delicate. The aftertaste expresses a lively freshness with notes of dark red fruits, wet ground and wood.

Wine Summary

80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera; Alcohol: 13.5%; Vines planted in 1974, 1978, 1996; lots vinified separately using ambient yeasts and fermented at controlled temperatures 86-91ºF; blend aged in 22% new barriques for 12 months; bottled in July 2019.

Technical Information
  • 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.1 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: <0.5 g/l
  • Extract: 30.7 g/l


95 Points

Underbrush, ripe black-skinned fruit, new leather and violet mingle with a whiff of exotic spice on this fragrant, elegantly structured red. The medium-bodied palate delivers ripe black cherry, cassis and star anise framed in polished, enveloping tannins. It shows the firm’s hallmark of finesse and impeccable balance, not easy to achieve in this scorching vintage.

Wine Enthusiast, November, 2020

17 Points

Gaiole in Chianti. 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera.
Mid to deep crimson. Rich sweet-sour cherry fruit of impressive depth with savoury, minerally hints. Multi-layered, generous and quite ripe fruit, but offset by tangy acidity and a layer of powdery tannins. Well balanced and in need of further age.  2022 – 2032, April, 2020

93 Points

Leafy, eucalyptus and juniper aromas and flavors lead off, with cherry and black currant close behind. Stiff tannins leave an astringent feel, but there is fruit underneath. Overall, this is very fresh and vibrant. Best from 2023 – 2030

Wine Spectator, May, 2021

94 Points

Oenologist Marco Pallanti chose not to make Castello di Ama’s single vineyard Bellavista and La Casuccia bottlings in 2017 as he felt the excessively hot conditions gave slightly aggressive tannins. Instead, he focused on making the best possible selection from all vineyards to go into the San Lorenzo Gran Selezione. It opens with lots of dusty cherry, dry earth and sweet thyme. Well-stacked with round fruit, the palate is lifted by pressed violet nuances. Assertive but polished tannins give definition, the wood is understated and acidity bright and integrated. Besides deft balance, San Lorenzo demonstrates admirable elegance and is a great success in this challenging vintage.  Drinking Window 2020 – 2028

Decanter, April, 2020

96 Points

Cherries, dried flowers and slate on the nose with some fresh mushrooms. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a juicy, chewy finish. Lots of structure and freshness to this. Extremely serious as always. Tight and focused. Try after 2024., August, 2021

94 Points

The 2017 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is a fabulous choice for readers looking for an Ama wine to drink now. Radiant and expressive, with striking depth and exceptional balance, the 2017 is pure seduction. Sweet red cherry, kirsch, rose petal, blood orange and spice fill out the layers effortlessly. This is so beautifully done. 2025 – 2037

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, September, 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