From the Estate’s inception in 1979, Castello di Ama was always inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux. The four founding families spurred by their love of the region set out to produce an Italian fine wine of equal measure to the right bank wines of Pomerol and Saint Emilion.
The L’Apparita vineyard came to fruition in 1982, after Marco Pallenti on arriving at the Estate took the decision to graft Merlot vines onto existing Malvasia and Canaiolo rootstocks originally planted in 1975. At an altitude of 490 metres the Apparita vineyard is the Estate’s highest vineyard and neighbours the winery atop the dramatic mountain hamlet of Ama. At this altitude it was largely seen to be too high to sufficiently ripen sangiovese, but its south-west aspect and rich clay soil turned out to be the perfect place to grow some of the world’s finest Merlot.
No expense was spared when Pallenti decided to train the vines using the open lyre system. A more expensive trellis system that naturally reduces the vigour in the vines whilst at the same time exposing the grapes to twice as much sunlight to more traditional guyot systems, helping to promote ripening at this high altitude site.
L’Apparita actually stands for “appearing” and as you stand at the top of the L’Apparita vineyard, in the distance you can see the skyline of Florence appearing on the horizon.
Elegance has always been key to Castello di Ama’s philosophy and in Bordeaux tradition Pallenti decided to only age the wine in oak barriques rather than the large Slavonian oak botti, more traditional in Tuscan wine production. For Castello Di Ama the large Slovenia oak botti made the wines too rustic in their view and they were concerned that élevage in these older larger barrels would not ensure clarity and cleanness in aroma and fruit profile.
Their Bordeaux similarities didn’t stop there, they also employed Patrick Leon, the winemaker at Chateau Mouton Rothschild as their wine consultant who continued to guide them throughout the eighties and helped perfect the Merlot variety in a climate and conditions quite different to the low lying flatlands of Pomerol.
L’Apparita is matured in 100% oak barrels of which 50% are new and 50% second fill. Typically less than 40 barrels are made and the wine is only made in top vintages. The wine is aged in a very specific part of the Castello di Ama cellar, under the red neon sign of “Revolution/ Love” a permanent piece of artwork by Kendall Geers.
For a full lineup of available cuvees of L’Apparita, including the latest 2016 release, click here.