Castello di Ama

Vigneto Bellavista Chianti Classico Gran Selezione – 2020

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

The Bellavista vineyard covers an area of 56.39 acres/22.82 hectares, with 23 acres replanted from 1974 to 1978, and 33.4 acres replanted in 2007. The plot of 22 parcels of land were terraced to improve exposure and ensure more uniform ripening. In the best vintages, parcels 1 to 19 of Malvasia Nera, and 21 and 22 of Sangiovese contribute most to the production of this vineyard selection.

  • Exposure: North-East/South-West
  • Altitude: 1510-1720 feet/460–525 meters
  • Soil: Clay and calcareous
  • Vine Training Systems: Vertical trellis, single Guyot
  • Clone Selection: Sangiovese CC2000 1, CC2000 2, CC2000 4, CC2000 5, Malvasia Nera MN6 Portainnesto 420
  • Vine PlantingDensity: 5,200 plants/Ha; 2,800 plants/Ha for older plantings
Harvest Notes
  • 1st quarter of 2020 without winter – clear, sunny days and no snow
  • March brought lower temperatures and slowed growth
  • Warmth of summer and soil moisture led to good maturation
  • End August rain and September cool nights and warm days created good ripening and aromatic development
  • Hand harvesting began mid-late September, ended October 8
  • 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
  • Malvasia Nera fermentation for 26 days
  • Wines racked into barriques for malolactic fermentation
  • Aged 14 months in 40% new, fine grained barriques, the balance in 1 year old barriques
Winemaker's Notes

Saturated ruby-red color. An intense and intruiging rose of blackberries and spices. Succulent and juicy on the palate with a silky, supple texture, nuanced complexity. A wine to enjoy now with time in the glass but also built for cellaring.

Wine Summary

80% Sangiovese, 20% Malvasia Nera; Alcohol: 13.5%; Vines planted 1974-1978 and 2007; soils clay and calcareous; hand harvested from mid-late September to October 8; fermented separately using only indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks at 86–91°F; malolactic fermentation in barriques; aged in 40% new, balance 1 year used barriques for 14 months.

Technical Information
  • 80% Sangiovese, 20% Malvasia Nero
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Total Acidity: 5.2 g/l
  • Residual Sugar: < 0.5 g/l
  • Extract: 31.3 mg/l

Reviews

98 Points

A selection of three parcels within this 23ha site. While Sangiovese is its soul, 50-year-old Malvasia Nera is intrinsic to Bellavista’s expression, lending nuance and tempering austerity. The two are blended after malolactic fermentation before refinement in French oak barriques. A tempting procession of coffee, incense, sweet herbs, moist earth and truffle emerges with each swirl. The palate is a thrilling and energetic tug-of-war with dark, lush fruit set against chiselled tannins. A gravelly texture adds to the drama and intense violet pierces the finish. Generous yet still tight. 2027 – 2042

Decanter, April, 2024

98 Points

The 2020 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto Bellavista is outrageously beautiful. Graphite, crushed rocks, lavender, menthol and juniper berry all race out of the glass. A dollop of Malvasia Nera adds striking savory/earthy intensity. Black fruit, gravel, incense and cloves build over time, framed by potent Bellavista tannins that need time to soften. 2026 – 2040

Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti presented a stellar set of new releases. Ama bottled all of their flagship wines in 2020, but readers should be aware these are some of the most reticent wines of the year. Patience is essential. That should not be much of an issue, as the Ama flagships all boast super track records when it comes to aging. In recent years, the wines have acquired an extra touch of finesse that is palpable.

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, June, 2023

96 Points

This has an attractive nose with dried strawberries, plum skins, crushed walnuts and licorice. Full-bodied, compact and structured with velvety tannins and a chocolaty mouthfeel. Really focused and balanced. Long, steady finish. Better after 2025.

jamessuckling.com, June, 2023

96 Points

The 2020 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto Bellavista shows an especially dark and saturated character in this vintage with black cherry, savory barbecue spice and cured tobacco. Of the three Gran Selezione releases, the Vigneto Bellavista has the darkest and richest character. This full-bodied red shows etched tannins and lots of rich fruit layering. 2024 – 2040

© Wine Advocate, May, 2023

95 Points

Dark shades of blackberry, blueberry, violet and iron infuse this intense yet fluid red, with a hint of dark chocolate. Despite its fine concentration and beautiful balance, this is elegant, with terrific length, showing lingering notes of fruit and spice. Sangiovese and Malvasia Nera. Best from 2025 through 2043.

Wine Spectator, 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