Castello di Ama

San Lorenzo Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 2016


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 Mera (7%), Merlot (13%) Planted 1974, 1978, 1996 Clay with abundant pebble-gravel 87.5 acres/35.42 ha

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • Wine from only estate grapes, specifically from old vine systems and vineyards over 10 years old
  • Exposure:  North-East/South-West – North-East/South-East
  • Soil: clay and calcareous
  • Altitude: 1510-1720 feet
  • 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.  Rootstock 420
Harvest Notes
  • Winter mild and rainy, with unstable conditions through Spring
  • July had large diurnal temperature swings, which helped develop aromas and flavors
  • Hail at end of August did not affect grape health
  • Merlot harvested 9/26/16, Sangiovese harvested 10/3 and 10/4/16
  • 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 18% new oak barriques for 10 months
  • Bottled in July 2017
  • Wine released 30 months after harvest per Gran Selezione specifications
Winemaker's Notes

Pure ruby-red color. The nose is fruity with cherry and strawberry notes. Some tertiary hints of leather. On the palate, ripened red fruits, succulent, intriguing and long-lasting. Tannins are delicate and well integrated. 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 86-91°F; blend aged in 18% new barriques for 10 months; bottle aged for 2 years per Gran Selezione regulations.

Technical Information
  • 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot, 7% Malvasia Nera
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.0 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: <0.5 g/l
  • Extract: 30.1 g/l


94 Points

The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Ama San Lorenzo is a blend taken from Ama’s four core estate vineyards. Black cherry, graphite, sage, mint, juniper berries and licorice give the San Lorenzo a distinctly dark, brooding profile to match its powerful feel. The big tannins need time to soften, but there is certainly plenty to look forward to. Stylistically, San Lorenzo is closest to Bellavista, with which it shares a decidedly somber feel. This is such a gorgeous wine. 2020 – 2036

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, August, 2019

95 Points

The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo is immediately more inky and balsamic in terms of aromas. As soon as you lift the wine to your nose, you get pretty tones of blackberry, cassis, rosemary essence, licorice and a touch of medicinal herb. I love when Sangiovese produces those elegant aromas, and for that reason, this wine stands tall among the three single-vineyard expressions from Marco Pallanti and Castello di Ama. It shows fiber, richness and lasting structure with a very well-managed quality of tannins. 2020 – 2028

© Wine Advocate, September, 2019

95 Points

Offers stunning aromas of black cherry, blackberry and violet, with ripe, sweet fruit on the palate, shaded by iron, earth and tobacco elements. Supple yet well-structured, this should come together soon. Shows terrific harmony and length. Best from 2022 through 2036.

Wine Spectator, January, 2020

96 Points

CELLAR SELECTION A blend of 80% Sangiovese, 13% Merlot and 7% Malvasia Nera, this opens with aromas of black- and red-skinned berry, pipe tobacco, tilled earth and a whiff of new leather. Elegant and taut, the palate shows tension, verve and finesse, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice and hints of French oak. It’s balanced, with polished, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2021–2036.

Wine Enthusiast, April, 2020

95 Points

This is a sultry wine, sangiovese’s bright cherry flavors and edgy acidity smoothed out by the addition of merlot (13 percent) and malvasia nera (seven percent). The wine rested for ten months in barriques (18 percent new), keeping the oak influence subtle as the wine developed a silky texture and finely knit flavors of tobacco leaf, toasted nuts and savory herbs. A note of menthol adds lift to the dark fruit and herb flavors, and the finish is long and elegant.

Wine and Spirits, April, 2020

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