Mazzei Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo 2018
Ruby red color with violet nuances. On the nose, bright aromas of fresh cherries mingle with notes of thyme and a subtle smoky character. Bright acid structure providing a lively quality. Cranberry, raspberry, and red cherry dominate with hints of leather, cedar, and cocoa powder. Some earthiness in the finish and ripe soft tannins.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo is a powerful, wild wine. Crushed flowers, game, herbs and licorice notes give the 2018 its distinctly savory, earthy personality. Brooding in feel, the 2018 will benefit from a few years in bottle. Most of this fruit comes from Mazzei's Caggio property, the site that informs the new Ipsus wine. In my view, Ser Lapo is the hidden gem in the Mazzei range, and the wine I would most like to drink, if forced to chose just one Chianti Classico in the lineup.
The Mazzei 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo is a plump and fruit-forward wine from a vintage that saw alternating moments of cool and hot that caressed the fruit into a slightly more ripened and softened overall state. This is a mid-weight wine with plenty of dark fruit and blackberry. On second nose, the wine offers savory tones of leather, spice and tar. This darker and heavier approach might do well if paired with game meat or a Tuscan stew of wild boar. Best After 2022
For 26 generations, the Mazzei family has been producing benchmark Italian wines from their historic Castello di Fonterutoli estate in Tuscany and more recently in the Maremma, Sicily and the Veneto. The passion, commitment and expertise that goes into these expressive wines is a reflection of the Mazzei’s spirit of innovation and respect for each property’s unique terroir.
Since the 1400’s the Mazzei’s have been producing wine; making it one of the oldest running Italian companies - of any kind! Their ancestry is closely woven not only into Tuscany’s winemaking history, but as well as to this venerated region’s political and cultural past. The notable merchant, Ser Lapo Mazzei, is credited for authoring the first official document mentioning “Chianti wine” (December 16, 1398). Years later, Philip Mazzei, winemaker, political thinker and friend of Thomas Jefferson, is credited for influencing another historic document, whose philosophical writings on equality of man served as inspiration for the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Four beautiful properties make up the Mazzei portfolio. Castello di Fonterutoli in historic Chianti Classico, Tuscany remains the historic home of Mazzei. An enthusiasm for discovery has led to the purchase of Belguardo in the Maremma, which borders the Tuscan coast and Zisola in Noto, Sicily. Giovanni Mazzei has recently taken over his family’s estate, Villa Marcello, in the Veneto, For six generations the Mazzei property at Castello di Fonterutoli has been family-owned and operated; which is also the case since the establishment of Belguardo, Zisola and Villa Marcello. Lapo Mazzei manages as Chairman, along with his sons Filippo and Francesco, both CEOs. The newest generation, Giovanni Mazzei, represents the 26th generation, poised to continue in the family’s footsteps of producing innovative and expressive wines from Central Tuscany, the Maremma, Sicily and the Veneto.
One of the first wine regions anywhere to be officially recognized and delimited, Chianti Classico is today what was originally defined simply as Chianti. Already identified by the early 18th century as a superior zone, the official name of Chianti was proclaimed upon the area surrounding the townships of Castellina, Radda and Gaiole, just north of Siena, by Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany in an official decree in 1716.
However, by the 1930s the Italian government had appended this historic zone with additonal land in order to capitalize on the Chianti name. It wasn’t until 1996 that Chianti Classico became autonomous once again when the government granted a separate DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) to its borders. Ever since, Chianti Classico considers itself no longer a subzone of Chianti.
Many Classicos are today made of 100% Sangiovese but can include up to 20% of other approved varieties grown within the Classico borders. The best Classicos will have a bright acidity, supple tannins and be full-bodied with plenty of ripe fruit (plums, black cherry, blackberry). Also common among the best Classicos are expressive notes of cedar, dried herbs, fennel, balsamic or tobacco.
Disenchanted with Italian winemaking laws in the 1970s, a few rebellious Tuscan winemakers decided to get creative. Instead of following tradition, to bottle Sangiovese by itself, they started blending it with international varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in differing proportions and with amazing success. However, some Tuscan Blends don’t even include Sangiovese. Somm Secret—The suffix –aia in Italian modifies a word in much the same way –y acts in English. For example, a place with many stones (sassi) becomes Sassicaia. While not all Super Tuscan producer names end in –aia, they all share a certain coy nomenclature.