Robert Parker 91
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. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020. 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. Importer: The Sorting Table, Napa, CA; tel. (707) 603-1461
Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020
(mainly sangiovese, with cabernet franc, merlot and malvasia nera): Good medium-deep red. Black cherry, redcurrant, licorice and menthol aromas are lifted by a floral element that carries through on the palate. Flavors of dark cherry, licorice and underbrush are complicated by a tarry quality. Finishes suave and smooth, with harmonious tannins and good subtle, spicy length. I was impressed by the purity of the sangiovese fruit, given the fact that the wine also includes cabernet franc and merlot components; chalk up another winner to the dynamic duo of Lorenza Sebaste and Marco Pallanti.