~ The new barrique cellar at Castello di Fonterutoli ~

The Mazzei family has an unparalleled heritage steeped in Tuscan wine-making tradition.  Their rich story begins centuries ago in the medieval hamlet of Castello di Fonterutoli, which is the name of their Castellina in Chianti estate and the heart of their wine production.  Since 1435 the estate has been the Mazzei home and that heritage has been passed down through 24 generations.  Mazzei is one of the ten oldest family businesses in all of Italy and one of the most acclaimed names in Italian wine.  Today, the estate is helmed by Filippo Mazzei and the library of wines the family produces have never been better.

~ The ancient library of lineage at Castello di Fonterutoli ~

Today we’re focusing on the 20th anniversary release of a very special wine; a wine the Mazzei family claims was the first ever produced from equal parts Sangiovese and Merlot.  It’s a blend of grapes that I often adore.  There is something about the marriage of these two varietals that results in a velvety, fruit driven experience that is tinged with terroir and high toned refreshing acidity.  I was excited to taste this most recent release, but sadly, I was let down.

The 2012 Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi is sourced from vineyards on the family estate in Castellina in Chianti.  A 50% blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, the vines that provide fruit for this wine range from 17-30 years in age.  Siepi is growing up.  But something was amiss here.

The wine is a gorgeous violet to purple color with only a slight fade at the rim of the bowl.  The aromas are attractive with exotic spices of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon framing crushed red plum notes.  On the palate, the wine seems muted.  The texture is somewhat lean with an absent/hollow mid-palate and a finish that is tarter than the charm of Sangiovese typically imparts.  This was purchased from a very reputable retailer and the wine came with a Certificate of Validation certifying that the cork would be 100% free from taint – or oddly – I’d be entitled to a refund. This is the first time I’ve ever encountered something like that.  The point being, I don’t think this bottle was flawed in any way and that concerns me as I have several left in the cellar.  I will try sooner rather than later.  This was rated 98 by a prominent critic.  Not this bottle. No way.  The numbers here are reversed.  89 and just barely. What’s more?  A poor value around $80+.  Find this wine.

~ Siepi is aged in French Barrique for 18 months prior to release. Two thirds of the barrels are new and the balance have held the prior vintage of Siepi. ~

Buon Venerdi!

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