Castello di Fonterutoli “Ser Lapo” 2008 Chianti Classico Reserva

Posted by Keith Wallace

The Mazzei family has a very long history in Chianti and has considerably expanded their winemaking operations over the past few years, including forays into Sicily and the Tuscan coast. However, no winery bears their name, which is very curious: they created the Chianti we know and love in many ways.

Since the 15th century, the family has owned Castello di Fonterutoli. Their history goes even further back to the 13th century when Ser Lapo Mazzei recorded the sale of his Chianti: the first known reference in history.  For that, Ser Lapo is considered the great-grandfather of Chianti.

If Ser Lapo is the great granddaddy, then his descendant Lapo Mazzei can be considered the father of modern Chianti.  By the 1950’s he well into his quest for creating a great wine. At the time, Chianti was an anemic red with an acrid soapy aftertaste with little fanfare, either at home or abroad. He began by modernizing vineyards and importing new vines from Bordeaux. He also introduced the use of oak barriques instead of chestnuts.  These three changes are now the underpinning for most Chianti Classico produced for the past 25 years.

This wine holds to that lineage: a depth of flavor that hones to both the past and future of Chianti. The oak is rich and dominant, with sweet vanilla pushing through salted mocha and caraway. The tannins are lean and grainy with black and red fruits under fresh leather and savory licorice. This is an excellent of modern Chianti Classico Reserva.

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