Castello di Ama

San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 2019

Region: ITALY - TUSCANY

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 Planting Density: 2800 – 5500 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
  • 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 harvesting began September 5, ended October 10
  • Each variety fermented separately using only indigenous yeasts at in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks from 86–91ºF
  • Manual pumpovers
  • Sangivovese fermentation for 22 days
  • Merlot fermentation for 25 days
  • Malvasia Nera fermentation for 26 days
  • Wines racked into barriques for malolactic fermentation
  • Aged 12 months in 22% new, fine grained barriques, the balance in 1 year old barriques
Winemaker's Notes

Deep ruby red in color. A fruity nose with red cherry and strawberry, orange zest and licorice. Tertiary hints of leather. Juicy and succulent on the palate with ripe red fruits that are intriguing and long lasting. The tannins are firm but delicate. The finish has 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 9/5 – 10/10/2019; 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.

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

Reviews

94 Points

The 2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is a wild, beautifully layered wine. Touches of Merlot and Malvasia Nera lend striking complexity and dimension to a mid-weight yet fleshy Gran Selezione. Iron, cured meats, spice, leather and dried leaves all take shape in this deceptively mid-weight yet deep, highly expressive Gran Selezione. 2026 – 2039

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, July, 2022

95 Points

The 2019 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo draws its fruit from various sites selected throughout the estate, and for that reason, it is often the most representative wine from Castello di Ama (despite its more approachable price). This vintage is especially interesting, showing a more formal quality of tannins for longer aging potential and softly extracted dark fruit that sets it apart. Vintner Marco Pallanti likens 2019 to 2004 or 2016, some of the best vintages in recent memory. The wine is partially aged in new oak, and the percentage of new barrels used depends on the vintage conditions. This edition sees 20% new oak, medium toast and fine grains. The team is working with lower temperatures during fermentation with more numerous pump-overs for the first couple of weeks, then the wine is left alone. Fresh cherry fruit, blackberry, spice and grilled herb emerge. 2024 – 2038

© Wine Advocate, February, 2023

97 Points

Perfumed and beautiful with flowers, cherries and raspberries. Forest fruits, too. Full-bodied with extremely fine tannins that run the length of the wine and are wonderfully integrated, spreading across the palate. Lasts for minutes. Better after 2025, but already fantastic.

jamessuckling.com, December, 2022

17+ Points

Gaiole. 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera.
Lustrous ruby. Pretty, lifted, minerally cherry-fruit nose with hints of mace. More perfumed and with hints of complex oak, with aeration. Elegant, supple and still a little closed on the palate and with fine, gritty, long tannins. Long and supple but not fully open yet. 2024 – 2034

JancisRobinson.com, April, 2023

94 Points

Marco Pallanti selects grapes from four parcels—Bellavista, La Casuccia, San Lorenzo and Montebuoni—to make this finely-woven wine, blending in small amounts of merlot and malvasia nera to enhance sangiovese’s bright acidity and ripe dark-cherry flavors. It shows an intense salinity gained from Ama’s rocky alberese soils, and mouthwatering acidity from Ama’s high-elevation vineyards. For all its intensity, the 2019 San Lorenzo has a velvety texture that is immediately appealing, perfect for roasted game birds or braised pork.

Wine and Spirits, April, 2023

94 Points

A blend of the estate’s four historic vineyards – Bellavista, Casuccia, San Lorenzo and Montebuoni – from plantings that are at least 25 years old, this bottling is, for now, Castello di Ama’s flagship Gran Selezione. There’s plenty to unpack here. A top note of vanilla complements red cherry, tobacco and thyme. Diving into the palate, the juicy red plum core is nuanced by freshly turned earth and rose. Assertive in personality but equally gracious, it’s hard to resist at the moment. Those well-formed tannins of polished wood, and charming grapey scratchiness should keep this in nick for the next eight to 10 years. 2023 – 2033

Decanter, April, 2023

95 Points

Sleek and racy, featuring cherry, blackberry, violet and iron aromas and flavors. This red is more about fruit and finesse, though there’s an element of wild Mediterranean scrub. Firm, with dense, resonant tannins and a long finish. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2026 through 2045

Wine Spectator, May, 2023

94 Points

The San Lorenzo bottling from Castello di Ama is not a single vineyard wine, but is made from a selection of the finest bunches grown each year in the Bellavista, La Casuccia, Montebuoni and San Lorenzo vineyards. The 2019 San Lorenzo comes in at 13.5 percent alcohol in this year and was made from a blend of eighty percent sangiovese, thirteen percent merlot and seven percent malvasia nera, with the wine raised in just over twenty percent new oak for one year prior to bottling. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a refined constellation of red and black cherries, cigar wrapper, gentle spice tones, a beautifully complex base of soil, gamebird, coffee bean, woodsmoke and a discreet framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and complex, with superb depth at the core, lovely soil inflection and grip, fine grained, buried tannins and a long, elegant and extremely promising finish. This is my favorite of the 2019 Gran Selezione bottlings from Castello di Ama that I tasted for this report, as I love its inherent sense of elegance. 2030 – 2075

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