Castello di Ama

San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 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 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
  • Soils: Clay and calcareous
  • Altitude: 1510-1720 feet/460-525 meters
  • Vine Density: 5,500 – 2,800 vines/ha
  • Vine training systems: 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
  • Large diurnal temperature swings in Fall allowed good aroma development
  • 2018 wines will be fruity with excellent and balance
  • Extraordinary polyphenols this growing season
  • Repeated sampling and organolepic analyses determined harvest began 8/29/2018
  • Hand harvested into 10 – 12kg crates, ending 10/15/2018
  • Only ambient yeast vinification, separately for each variety in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks
  • Fermentation between 86-91ºF with manual pumpovers:
    • 22 days Sangiovese
    • 25 days Merlot
    • 26 days Malvasia Nera
  • Malolactic fermentation in barrel, followed by blending
  • Transfered to 22% new oak barriques for 12 months
  • Bottled June 2020
Winemaker's Notes

Ruby-red depths in the glass. A fruity nose with red cherry and  strawberry notes, zest of orange and liquorice. Some tertiary hints of leather. Juicy and succulent with a silky supple texture. Ripened red fruits, intriguing and long-lasting. 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; hand harvested from 8/29 – 10/15/2018; lots vinified separately using only ambient yeasts; fermented at controlled temperatures 86-91°F in stainless steel tanks; malolactic fermentation  then blending in oak; aged in 22% new oak barriques for 12 months; bottled in June 2020.

Technical Information
  • 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot and 7% Malvasia Nera
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.2 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: < 1 g/l
  • Extract: 31 g/l


96 Points
#76 of TOP 100 WINES OF ITALY 2021

A tight, polished red with a very beautiful texture of firm, polished yet integrated tannins. Full-bodied with plenty of subtle dark-berry and chocolate character. Hints of walnuts, too. Flavorful finish. A little tight at the end, but already really delicious. Serious young Gran Selezione. Drink or hold., December, 2021

93 Points

Supple at first and saturated with blackberry, dark plum and violet flavors, this red turns more tannic midpalate, gaining steam through the finish. Earth and iron elements chime in, and the ripe fruit returns on the ironclad finish. Sangiovese, Merlot and Malvasia Nera. Best from 2025 through 2037.

Wine Spectator, May, 2022

94 Points

The 2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is a deep, potent wine. Black cherry, gravel, smoke, licorice, chocolate, spice infuse the San Lorenzo with tons of dark Sangiovese character. A heady, muscular wine, the 2019 exudes tremendous richness. I would give it a few years. The 2018 is a wine of aromatic intrigue and intensity. 2025 – 2038

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, September, 2021

95 Points

Smooth and delicious, this compelling red offers delicately enticing scents of dark-skinned fruit, pressed rose, violet and cedar. Boasting layers of flavor, the smooth palate is all about finesse, delivering ripe plum, spiced berries, licorice and crushed mint before a mocha close. Velvety tannins and fresh acidity provide seamless support and balance. Drink 2023–2033.

Wine Enthusiast, May, 2022

94 Points

Castello di Ama’s ‘estate’ Gran Selezione brings together fruit from its high-altitude vineyards of Bellavista, Casuccia, San Lorenzo and Montebuoni – all in Gaiole. The future direction of this wine is uncertain as it is blended with a small percentage of Merlot, which will no longer be permitted at the Gran Selezione level. It is delightfully scented with cherry, rosehip and lilac atop brushwood and forest undergrowth. Elegantly proportioned, the palate is mineral driven, vertical in extension and gracious in its execution. Oak provides a sophisticated, understated frame melding well with finessed tannins. There’s a charming finale of blood orange notes. 2022 – 2032

Decanter, March, 2022

94+ Points

The Castello di Ama 2018 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo is one of the most distinctive wines in the ample portfolio offered by this estate. I always seem to find a balsamic note in the San Lorenzo Sangiovese (a blend of some of the property’s best fruit, with a touch of Merlot and Malvasia Nera thrown in), and it definitely comes through in this vintage with grilled rosemary and even a touch of black olive. This wine is truly Mediterranean in spirit and it boasts an all-Italian identity. Its supple, mid-weight texture is amplified by elegant fruit and spice. And the wine’s fresh acidity makes it the ideal pairing partner with your favorite Tuscan pasta or pici recipes. 2023 – 2038

© Wine Advocate, October, 2021

93 Points

The 2018 vintage of San Lorenzo from Castello di Ama comes in at 13.5 percent alcohol in this year and was raised in twenty-two percent new oak casks during its elevage. The wine is made from a cépages of eighty percent sangiovese, thirteen percent merlot and seven percent malvasia nera. The superb bouquet offers up a complex constellation of red and black cherries, coffee bean, a complex base of soil tones, spit-roasted gamebird, plenty of fresh oregano, woodsmoke and a nice touch of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and shows off beautiful depth at the core, with fine soil signature and grip, ripe, buried tannins, tangy acids and excellent length on the focused, complex and perfectly balanced finish. This is simply outstanding, single vineyard Chianti! 2030 – 2065+

View From The Cellar, November, 2022

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