2008 Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Ama, Tuscany

2008 Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Ama, Tuscany

Red, Ready, but will keep   Red | Ready, but will keep | Castello di Ama | Code: 11280 | 2008 | Italy > Tuscany > Chianti Classico | Sangiovese | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Bottle 6 x 75cl

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£140.00

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Bottle 6 x 75cl

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£145.00

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Bottle 6 x 75cl

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£150.00

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Bottle 6 x 75cl

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£160.00

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Bottle 6 x 75cl

1cs

£165.00

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Scores and Reviews

WA

91+/100

WA - The 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva Castello di Ama is going through a very beautiful phase right now. It was quite Burgundian and refined from barrel, then shut down considerably after bottling. Today, it shows lovely inner perfume and sweetness. The cool, restrained personality of the year comes through, but there is also plenty of understated richness in the glass. A kick of Sangiovese acidity and tannin frames the finish. This is a gorgeous wine that could very well surprise on the upside.

This is a fabulous set of wines from Lorenza and Marco Pallanti. In addition to these wines, I also tasted the full range of 2010 and 2011s, two vintages that are shaping up beautifully at Ama. The single-vineyard Chianti Classicos return to the fray in 2011, the first vintage produced after 2007. The 2011s are full of promise although they naturally reflect the more exuberant quality of the year vis-a-vis the cool, structured 2010s. I also retasted Ama’s 2008s, two wines that have improved markedly since I reviewed them last year. Pallanti describes 2008 as a good vintage up until September, when rain became problematic. Castello di Ama fans will want to check out my vertical of the Chianti Classico Bellavista, also in this issue. Lastly, let me add that any readers still holding the 2002 Chianti Classico (a year in which the single-vineyard wines weren’t made) are in for a very pleasant surprise.
Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate, Jun 2012

The Story

Castello di Ama

Producer

Castello di Ama

Castello di Ama is one of Tuscany's pre-eminent estates, responsible for wines of great finesse and filigree. Located close to Gaiole-in-Chianti at approx. 480 metres above sea level, the sixteenth century, 250 ha (90ha of vines) property is blessed with fine galestro and alberese stone soils and superior terroir.

It has been owned by Lorenza Sebasti Pallanti's family since 1972. Her husband Marco Pallanti joining in 1982, coinciding with a period of renewed investment, notably that of increasing plant density to 5000/hectare, the introduction of some French varietals such as Merlot, and in 1992, the switch from ageing in large slavonian botti to French barriques.

The core Castello di Ama range consists of a Chianti Classico, a blend of 80% Sangiovese 12% Canaiolo, 8% Malvasia Nera and Merlot from 30-44 year old vines, aged for 12 mths in 20% new French oak;

Chianti Classico Vigneto La Casuccia is a single-vineyard blend of 80% Sangiovese 20% Merlot from an average 35 year old vines aged in 50% new French oak;

Chianti Classico Vigneto Bellavista is a single-vineyard wine from clay-rich soils blending 80% Sangiovese 20% Malvasia Nera aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak and made only in exceptional years;

L'Apparita is a mercurial, 100% Merlot from average 35 year-old vines aged for 12 months in 50% new French oak.

Grape

Sangiovese

Sangiovese

A black grape widely grown in Central Italy and the main component of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as well as being the sole permitted grape for the famed Brunello di Montalcino.

It is a high yielding, late ripening grape that performs best on well-drained calcareous soils on south-facing hillsides. For years it was blighted by poor clonal selection and massive overcropping - however since the 1980s the quality of Sangiovese-based wines has rocketed upwards and they are now some of the most sought after in the world.

It produces wines with pronounced tannins and acidity, though not always with great depth of colour, and its character can vary from farmyard/leather nuances through to essence of red cherries and plums. In the 1960s the advent of Super Tuscans saw bottlings of 100% Sangiovese wines, as well as the introduction of Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blends, the most famous being Tignanello.

Region

Chianti Classico

Chianti Classico is a leading Tuscan DOCG zone which covers approximately 7,000 hectares between Florence and Siena. Its vineyards stretch into the Apennine foothills at altitudes of between 150m and 500m, and encompass two distinct terroirs and styles. The sandy, alluvial soils of the lower sites yield fuller, meatier wines while the limestone and galestro rocks of the higher vineyards deliver finer, more ethereal examples.

The origins of Chianti date back to the Middle Ages, although Chianti Classico was really born in 1716 when Grand Duke Cosimo III of Tuscany classified the zone, identifying the villages of Radda, Greve, Panzano, Gaiole and Castellina as the leading sites; these same villages still represent the nucleus of the Chianti Classico DOCG today. The regulations have been revised, however, to insist that the wine is made from a minimum 80 percent Sangiovese and a maximum 20 percent Canaiolo and ameliorative grapes (ie Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon); from the 2006 vintage, no white grapes are allowed.

Chianti Classico cannot be released until 1st October in the year following the harvest, while Chianti Classico Riserva must undergo 24 months of ageing before release, including at least three months in bottle. At the region’s top addresses, French barriques are gradually being adopted in the place of the traditional, larger slavonian botte.

Recommended Producers: Monte Bernardi, Tenuta Fontodi, Castelo di Ama, Bibbiano

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