Ama, the history
Ama takes its name from a small borgo, or agricultural hamlet, nestled in the hills at an altitude of almost 500 metres. Five centuries ago, it was the hub of a florid farming and winemaking business overseen by a group of local families. “The road from Radda leads to Amma, three miles away on a hill and home to the Pianigiani, Ricucci and Montigiani – the most prominent families in Chianti,” wrote Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Habsburg-Lorraine in his 18th-century Report on the government of Tuscany. “They are well-off country gentry that spend all their income on farming and vineyards, and take care of everything. The hills and valleys surrounding the castle of Amma are the most beautiful in all of Chianti, superbly tended with fertile grain fields, olive groves and magnificent vineyards.” The Grand Duke’s visit is commemorated by a plaque on one of the buildings in the borgo, which are now owned by the winery. Castello di ama , the winery, was founded in the 1970s by a group of families who had fallen under the spell of this magical spot. They set themselves the task of reviving Ama’s past glories and of producing a Chianti Classico that would rank among the world’s most prestigious wines.
It was this wine, and the vineyards it derives from, that forged an alliance between Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti, the couple who run the winery today. Lorenza is Roman, the second generation of one of the winery’s founding families. Winemaker Marco is a Tuscan born and bred, who honed his craft partly on home ground, and partly in France. For more than 30 years now they have dedicated themselves to making exceptional wines at Ama.
Marco was named Winemaker of the Year in the 2003 edition of the most authoritative Italian wine guide, the Gambero Rosso’s Vini d’Italia. In 2004, the company was awarded the Impresa e Cultura (Business and Culture) prize, sponsored by Confindustria, ICE, Sviluppo Italia and Palermo city council, for “best track record of investment in culture”. A year later, in 2005, Castello di Ama was named Best Winery of the Year by the Gambero Rosso wine guide. San Lorenzo was ranked sixth in the Wine Spectator’s Best Wines of the World list in 2010. Between 2006 and 2012, Marco served two terms as the president of the Consorzio del Chianti Classico, the renowned wine zone’s governing consortium.
“Ama’s wine’s are well-situated, in full sun, beautifully tended, as if they were gardens. This is the most famous, most fertile part of all Chianti.”
Peter Leopold of Habsburg-Lorraine