CANTINA di FONTERUTOLI

 The Mazzei Family.
Since 1435, the Mazzei Family has bee devoted to winemaking and the Castello of Fonterutoli has been always at the center of these activities.  However, the Mazzei Family has been playing an important role in the production and commercialization of wine in Tuscany well before. Lionardo Mazzei was a wine producer in the Carmignano area, working under the supervision of his brother, Ser Lapo Mazzei who is considered the father of the brandname "Chianti": in fact the first document (a commercial contract dated Dec.16th 1398) where this brand was mentioned has his signature.  The story of another famous family member, Philip Mazzei (see paragraph on the right), explains how the Mazzeis contributed not only to the history of winemaking, but   also to the history itself.

The Cantina of Fonterutoli
The area around the Castle of Fonterutoli has two important features: the land so full of crumblig rocks that the wine produced got the nickname of "vino dei sassi" (stone wine); and the source of springwater (Fonte Rutoli) that has been for centuries sending waters to Siena and to its famous  fountain (Fonte Gaia) in Piazza del Campo . The grapes that have been growing here for many years are various selected clones of Sangiovese and today they are still "managed by hand" by  very experienced farmers. 
In 2006, a new winery was built, under the supervision of the architect Agnese Mazzei. The project  takes advantage of the gravitational forces and the building has three floors, one for each phase of the vinification process.
The sophisticated way to crowd the must ("follature") allows an exceptional color extraction from the grapes and the tannins obtained are aromatic and relatively sweet.The "barricaia"  is close to an underground waterfall of spring water, able to maitain temperature and humidity stable the whole year.
The main wines are: the Chianti Classico Fonterutoli, The Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo, the Cabernet-Sauvignon "Philip" and the famous "Mix 36", a special mix of 36 types of Sangiovese grapes grown in a single wineyard in Fonterutoli.
Wine tasting at Cantina di Fonterutoli is a special event; call or send an email to make a resevation. Passport holders should contact Emanuela Stefanelli at 0577-741385 or email at [email protected]. The address is Via Ottone III 5, Localita' Fonterutoli, Castellina in Chianti. For more information go to www.mazzei.it



Philip Mazzei
(1730-1816) was a Tuscan wine merchant, surgeon, and horticulturist;  while working in London, he established a friendship with Thomas Jefferson and  sailed to Virginia in 1773 to indulge his interest in the political life of the Colonies and to conduct agricultural experiments. Jefferson gave him a tract of land on the south side of Monticello since  Mazzei was convinced that  Virginia's soil and climate was good for wine production.
On the political front, Mazzei began to be a patriot and  Jefferson shared with him a draft of the Declaration of Independence.  He left Virginia  in 1785. He then published the  "Recherches Historiques et Politiques sur les États-Unis de l'Amérique Septentrionale" and the success of his book led to his appointment as the Polish chargé d'affaires in Paris, then moving to Warsaw to work as an agent for the King Stanislaus Augustus of Poland.
Mazzei retired to Pisa, Italy, in 1792.  In 1802, he began to enjoy a pension paid by Alexander I of Russia, who had assumed the King of Poland's debts.  He  died in Pisa 1816, three years after completing his memoirs, and his grave can still be visited in the City Cemetery.


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