A long lasting bond unites the Mazzei family with Tuscany and wines since the XI century.
Ser Lapo Mazzei is the author of the first known document to use the "Chianti" denomination in 1398; in 1435, when his granddaughter Madonna Smeralda Mazzei married Piero di Agnolo da Fonterutoli, the holding became part of the family's estate. Since then, for 24 generations, the Mazzei family produces wine at Castello di Fonterutoli, which even after its recent expansion still remains the beating heart of the company.
Ser Lapo Mazzei
The first documented reference to Chianti as a production region is found in correspondence from 16 December 1398 between Ser Lapo Mazzei "the keen notary" and Francesco Datini, "the merchant from Prato".
"Payable, on 16 December (1398), 3 florins 26 pennies 8 dinars to Piero di Tino Riccio, for 6 barrels of wine from Chianti ...said produce paid by credit letter of Ser Lapo Mazzei".
In their exchanges these two wonderful characters were discussing the deals of the time, the pleasures of life, and obviously the wine, of which Ser Lapo was a great fan and connoisseur.
Philip, who enjoyed calling himself a "Citizen of the World", befriended Franklin, Adams, Washington, and Jefferson; the latter invited him to introduce vine growing in Monticello, Virginia. In a letter to George Washington, Mazzei writes that the soil and climate of that region are wonderfully suitable for wine production.
Filippo inspired Jefferson with the idea that "All men are by nature equally free and independent. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government".
In his book A Nation of Immigrants, John F. Kennedy himself acknowledges that "The great doctrine 'All men are created equal', incorporated in the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, was paraphrased from the writings of Filippo Mazzei, an Italian patriot and dear friend of Jefferson".
In 1980 for the 250th anniversary of his birth, Philip Mazzei is commemorated as an "American Patriot" with a stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.