Today we are delighted to be able to release Castello Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2013 from the Mazzei family. This has just been awarded the second highest ever score from the Wine Spectator for any Gran Selezione, with an astonishing 95 points. Moreover, it has one of the highest ever scores from the Wine Advocate with a stunning 94 points, Monica Larner calls it ‘an exceptionally balanced and smooth red wine that is the result of a complicated fruit-blending process.’ It is; it derives from painstaking research by the Mazzei family who can select it from 36 biotypes of Sangiovese, harvested from 120 single vineyard parcels. These are just two accolades for this wine, which has received incredible praise, also winning a platinum medal by Decanter. Today’s price of £170 per case of six offer immense value, even better at our special price of £160 when buying 24 bottles or more. This gives it a Price Over Points ratio of 23, reiterating its incredible value for money.
Most Italian wine lovers will know the name Mazzei, for aside from several other great wines they are responsible for the Super-Tuscan Siepi, which has been awarded scores as high as 98 points in recent years and is considered one of the finest wines in Italy. However, the family put as much, perhaps more, focus on the Gran Selezione, considering it the acme of their prodigious winemaking achievements. The wine combines fruit focus and precision with florality and elegance, boasting violet and sour cherry. There is plenty of upfront fruit to help this age brilliantly, yet it also displays intense tobacco, cinnamon, leather and a hint of white chocolate. It is hard to find a better wine at below £30 a bottle in bond. It will provide plenty of enjoyment now, especially with food. Given a few years in bottle it will develop further tertiary flavours. Please also that it is available in larger formants, at this price point this is a real candidate for party bottles.
Gran Selezione the new King of Tuscany
In January 2013, the 600 member strong Consorzio of Chianti Classico began a major revamp of the old Tuscan DOCG regulations with the creation of a new classification, Gran Selezione. This ground-breaking move had been lobbied by a few leading Estate for years. Since 2013, the classification Gran Selezione has benchmarked new standards, creating an elite group of wines. For a Chianti Classico wine to obtain Gran Selezione status, all grapes must be grown on the Estate, come from the finest Single Vineyards or plots of a vineyard and be aged for a minimum of 30 months to include three months in bottle. Gran Selezione is the future of great winemaking in Chianti, the new king of the region.
The irony behind this classification was that leading estates of Chianti have been making Gran Selezione in all but name for years. Fontodi, Castello di Brolio, Castello di Ama, Felsina, Isole e Olena and Mazzei have been the vanguard of truly great wine in the region, true to stylistic tradition combined with innovation. These flagship estates drove the classification forward, ensuring other estates rise to their level. However, it is still these leading estates that are raising the watermark on quality and they have been blazing the path of very high critic scores. Take note however, for now, despite the standard being achieved they are released at truly magnificent prices, the smart money is on these undervalued great wines.
The Mazzei family are woven in the fabric of Tuscan winemaking and political history. The first document that names the Mazzei family in relation to winemaking dates back to the 11th Century. Ser Lapo Mazzei (1350-1412) was a winemaker and notary and is accredited with being the ‘father’ of the name Chianti. Filippo Mazzei (1730-1816) who was a progressive thinker, intellectual and scholar, became a close friend of Thomas Jefferson. He was asked by Jefferson to bring Italian wine-making to Monticello, Virginia and he duly obliged, going on to plant the first vineyards in that part of the New World. ‘I thank you for your obliging act of the culture of the wine, and I am happy to hear that your plantation of them is in so prosperous a way’ (George Washington, 1 July, 1779). His impact, however, extends beyond this; Filippo remained in the US for many years and his ideas regarding equality struck Jefferson, from where he drew inspiration for one of the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence, ‘All men are created equal’. As such Filippo is considered an American patriot!
Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2013, 6×75 – £170 IB
94 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
The 2013 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello Fonterutoli is an exceptionally balanced and smooth red wine that is the result of a complicated fruit-blending process. Some 36 biotypes of Sangiovese are used in the mix and are harvested from 120 single vineyard parcels with primarily Alberese and Galestro limestone soils. It is made from 92% Sangiovese, and 8% Malvasia Nera and Colorino. The bouquet offers bold cherry and plum with spice and soft tobacco.
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