We recently tasted the 2016 edition of Mazzei's "Ser Lapo" Chianti Classico Riserva and found it impressive enough to alert our fellow wine lovers! It's a delightfully modern take on Tuscan tradition by which Decanter Magazine and James Suckling were also greatly impressed, awarding it 97 and 95 points, respectively!
The 2016 "Ser Lapo" makes an immediate impression, offering a distinctive and expressive collage of well-defined aromas and a bold, engaging mouthfeel. The perfume combines a spicy, woody, and resinous perfume (balsam) with ripe cherries, Seville orange peel, and a touch of plum, making for an exotic and warming nose. In the mouth, the brightness lifts the mouth-filling sweet & spiced fruit into a juicy counterpoint to the moderate level of fleshiness from the skins. Along with the medium-full body and slightly rustic chewy tannins, this all makes for an ideal pairing for dishes like moderately aged cheeses and thick-cut salami, Florentine style steak, or citrus-marinated pork loin with an herbed sour cherry sauce.
The Mazzei family has a long history dealing with vines and wines. In fact, the name "Ser Lapo" is an homage to their ancestor by that name whose 1398 sales contract (reproduced as a wrapping for the bottles of the "Sero Lapo" wine) serves as the earliest reference to a wine as being from the region of Chianti!
The wine is made from 90% Sangiovese with the remainder being mostly Merlot, and aged for a year in smaller French oak barrels (half of them new). While enjoyable now, this is a wine that will be even better in 3-5 years, so be sure to pick up some to age!
DECANTER 97 POINTS - "This is a stunning wine with a complex cherry, prune, herbal, leather and balsamic bouquet. Excels on the concentrated and succulent palate, with lovely mouthfeel and lots of spicy, smooth, fleshy tannins, superfine acidity and great length. A classic gourmand style per eccellenza perhaps but remarkable from any angle."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A vibrant yet brooding red, with bracing acidity driving the cherry, currant, iron, tobacco and almond flavors. Complex and intense, this needs a few years to absorb the tannins. Delivers fine presence and length. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2022 through 2043. 10,000 cases made, 1,500 cases imported"
JAMES SUCKLING 95 POINTS - "Bright aromas of sliced cherries and hints of strawberries with some orange peel. Full body and super fine and ripe tannins. They melt into the wine. Delicate yet energetic. Crisp finish."