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Castello di Ama LApparita Merlot 1998

Merlot from Tuscany, Italy
    0% ABV
    • RP92
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Deep ruby color with intense varietal character in the nose. Loads of berries, cedar, tobacco and smoke come through on the palate. Some dark fruit with hints of mocha. Concentrated and ripe with an excellent finish. Recommended with grilled meats and game.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Castello di Ama

    Castello di Ama

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    Castello di Ama, Tuscany, Italy
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    Ama is an old, fortified village situated near Radda and Gaiole in the heart of the Chianti Classico region. The Castello or Castle of Ama is surrounded by the beautiful Tuscan countryside and is near some of the original, noble families of the Chianti region. The meticulously cultivated vineyards are privy to optimal exposures and consist of fertile soils. Ama is a modern estate comprising 500 acres of land, 200 of which are vineyards. These vineyards are divided into five important parcels; San Lorenzo, Bellavista, La Casuccia, Bertinga and Montebuoni. In the 1970s, four families formed a partnership and purchased the property with the goal of producing world-class wines. Castello Di Ama is unique, employing its best Sangiovese to produce Chianti Classico, unlike many Tuscan producers who have chosen to blend their best Sangiovese into Vini da Tavola or Super Tuscans. In addition to the acclaimed Chianti Classico produced in each vintage, the crus of Bellavista and La Casuccia are produced only in outstanding vintages and in extremely limited quantity. These wines in their concentration, harmony and overall elegance represent the best expression of Sangiovese in Tuscany.

    One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery, and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, as well as in price from budget-friendly to ultra-premium, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano trailing far behind.

    Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, perfect for Sangiovese as it ripens most efficiently on slopes with maximum exposure to sunlight.

    Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright red fruit and not much more, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello in particular is sensitive to vintage variation, performing best in years that are not too hot and not too cold. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, the island of Elba and more inland, in Carmignano.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    LAU101040798_1998 Item# 53388