11 July 2016
Somm in the City
Celebrating Siepi of Castello Di Fonterutoli!
To celebrate Siepi’s 20th anniversary, the Mazzei Family has created a special limited edition of bottles for collectors. The wine testifies the families long standing relationship with the vineyards where they have grown, loved, and produced incredible wines for centuries.Siepi is part of the Castello Di Fonterutoli wine label collection. Siepi is one of the oldest vineyards in the Chianti Classico region and is known for the Sangiovese grape. Back in the day, farmers used to travel from all over Tuscany to beg the family for cuttings to graft their own vines. These wines have sophisticated elegance and superior structure that allows the Castello di Fonterutoli today to showcase their unparalleled viticultural heritage that began in the Siepi vineyard. The vineyard is situated on a plateau that is well lit throughout the day, which is great for their grapes. Surrounded by oak forests that create an excellent micro-climate.Fonterutoli is located south of Castellina in Chianti (Siena), on the hills facing the Val d’Elsa, in the heart of the Chianti Classico. For the anniversary, we enjoyed a vertical tasting of the Siepi 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012. Siepi only produces wines during the best vintages, and 2005 was a great one at that. Made with 50% Sangiovese and 50% merlot, this wine is stunning with bold black fruit aromas, well integrated oak on the palate, soft tannins and great acidity. 2006-2011 were also outstanding vintages for Siepi where the climate, soils, and grapes seemed to work seamlessly, producing some incredible wines. As for the 2012, this was a distinctive vintage which led to beautiful ripeness, fresh aromas, and great wine.Besides Siepi, Mazzei produces other wine labels: Castello de Fonterutoli, Belguardo, Phillip, and Mix 36. To begin a wonderful Italian wine adventure, I started with a glass of the2015 Belguardo Rosé. This wine is 50% Sangiovese and 50% Syrah and sees skin contact for twelve hours. This allows the grape skins to give the wine it’s color and structure, but also ensures a well balanced rosé with very little tannins and a lot of personality. This wine is the perfect raw bar wine; oysters, shrimp cocktail, lobster claws, and more pair beautifully with this crisp and lovely rosé. For those who can’t enjoy seafood, this wine is also ideal with grilled cheese!In Tuscany, Sangiovese dominates but varietals grow very well within the region and are used in blends and single varietal wines as well. The 2011 Castello de Fonterutoli was one of the first reds I tried during my Siepi wine lunch at Aureole, NYC. Paired alongside was Octopus, which went very well with this smokey, ripe cherry, smooth red wine. All the best blocks are used for this Bordeaux style wine making it perfectly drink-able now as well as age worthy for at least another 7-10 years. The 2011 Mix 36 100% Sangiovese is a smaller wine that comes from an experimental vineyard with 36 distinct biotypes of Sangiovese vines. This wine paired beautifully with medium rare steak due to it’s high acidity and balance from the French Oak barrels used. The 2012 Philip, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a hand harvested wine from 15 year old vines at the Belguardo Estate and 10-14 year old vines from the Fonterutoli Estate in Chianti. This wine is earthy with notes of spice, mushroom, and red currants with a soft and fruity yet seductive palate. This wine paired beautifully with both the octopus and steak and is a very food friendly wine. Seeking a Tuscan adventure? I recommend exploring some of the Mazzei Family wines from Siepi to Phillip and everything in between, you will certainly not be disappointed. The wines range from $14.99-150.00 (depending on the wine, vintage, and bottle) and offer tastes, aromas, and pair-ability for everyone!