This morning we are delighted to be able to release Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 from the Mazzei family. The 2015 vintage in Tuscany is special, the successor to the sublime 2010 and a vintage worth filling cellars with; it will reward the discerning collector for decades. Many of the regions greats have made one of their finest ever wines. As such it comes as no surprise that Fonterutoli’s Gran Selezione received its highest ever score, a stunning 96 points from James Suckling, who describes it as having ‘Dried violets and lavender, cedar, cloves, vanilla and tobacco.’ Our price today of £175 per case of six or £29 per bottle in bond gives this wine a superb Price over Points ratio of 21.9. It has also received 96 points from Decanter and its highest ever score of 94 points from Monica Larner of The Wine Advocate, who describes it as having ‘sharpness and detail that wine is supposed to evoke in the best vintages.’
This Gran Selezione is capable of producing majestic wines in superb vintages, it derives from painstaking research by the Mazzei family who can select it from 36 biotypes of Sangiovese, harvested from 120 single vineyard parcels. Most Italian wine lovers will know the name Mazzei, for aside from several other great wines, they are responsible for the Super-Tuscan Siepi. In her tasting note, Larner says ‘The Mazzei family was among the first to embrace the Gran Selezione category of high-end Chianti Classico.’ They were instrumental to the creation of this classification when 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.
Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2015 is a brilliant wine and at this price point competes with any wine in the world. It provides focused, rich, upfront fruit, with seamless elegance. It also displays intense tobacco, cinnamon, leather and a hint of white chocolate, with sweet spice and high notes of lavender. The finish is brilliantly integrated, the best of Sangiovese. It is drinking beautifully now yet will improve for two decades. We advise collectors take advantage of the superb winemaking and terroir that has reached a superb level of quality in 2015.
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