Castello di Ama releases latest vintage of ‘L’Apparita’ in HK

Located between Florence and Siena in the hamlet of Ama, 500 metres above sea level, Tuscan winery Castello di Ama has unveiled the 2014 vintage of ‘L’Apparita’ in Hong Kong, the first-ever 100% Merlot created in Tuscany in 1985 – one year ahead of its renowned counterpart, Masseto.

Monica Petreni holding a bottle of 2008 ‘L’Apparita’ that comes with two of its flagship single vineyard reds – ‘La Casuccia’ and ‘Bellavista’ – in a gift box at Vinexpo Hong Kong

The wine is made from grapes grown from roughly four hectares of vineyards on clay-rich hill near the winery.

Production is limited, with only around 6,000 or 7,000 bottles at most a year, according to the winery’s Monica Petreni speaking to dbHK in Hong Kong.

The creation of the wine, according to Petreni, is linked to its winemaker Marco Pallanti’s trips to Bordeaux following which, Merlot was one of the things he imported back home to their winery located in the hamlet of Ama near the village of Lecchi in Chianti.

“[It was] the first pure Merlot produced in Tuscany since 1985. Masseto’s first one is 1986. We are earlier than Masseto,” she asserted. “It was not a joke at all, our winemaker was very young and visited Bordeaux and thought of importing Merlot to the region, and planted the grape”.

In addition to ‘L’Apparita’, Merlot is blended in the estate’s another limited single vineyard red ‘La Casuccia’ together with Sangiovese.

The winery also makes another single vineyard red called ‘Bellavista’, a blend of Sangiovese and Malvasia Nera, grown from roughly 23ha of vineyards. The wine is only made in good vintages, according to Petreni, with four vintages made in the last 12 years – 2013, 2011, 2007 and 2006 – a testament to the winery’s commitment to quality.

The winery also did not produce any reds for the 2012 vintage. “We had a very bad vintage in 2012. We had a big storm so the grapes were not ripe and after the rain we waited but we waited too much, and the winemaker was not satisfied, so we did not make any red wine,” she explained. As a result, in 2012, the winery only produced rosé and white wines.

The 2014 vintage was far less challenging compared with 2012, but, according to Petreni, was still quite “unusual”. The winter was warm and wet, and summer was rather delayed and rainy. “But luckily we had a good September, which is good for Sangiovese and Merlot to ripen,” she concluded.

The overall annual production for the winery in 2014 was thus down by around 25%, which usually hovers around 300,000 bottles for all of its wines including ‘San Lorenzo’, its two single vineyard reds – ‘La Casuccia’, ‘Bellavista’ – in addition to other reds, rosé and whites.

The latest releases of 2014 ‘San Lorenzo’, 2013 ‘L’Apparita’ and 2013 ‘La Casuccia’ are available in Hong Kong. The winery also presented a gift set consisting of the two single vineyard reds and 2008 ‘L’Apparita’.

All the latest releases from the winery are available in Hong Kong via Enoteca. 

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