Descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s confidant thrill James Suckling.
For about a decade now, Wine Access clients have been snapping up Italian red masterpieces from the Mazzei family as soon as we hit “Send.” Ever impressed by our quickly disappearing allocations of Philip Cabernet, Badiola, and Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, our friends at Castello di Fonterutoli have finally let us have a crack at the simply stunning Concerto Toscana IGT. This “fabulous” 96-point beauty bursting with “intense fruit” and “silky tannins” prompted James Suckling to urge his readers: “Don’t miss it.” Wait too long, given Wine Access clients’ track record with Mazzei, and we’re sure you will indeed miss it. 40 cases… and counting down…
The Mazzei family’s impact on wine and world history hardly needs another telling, but it’s too good to pass up. A Mazzei has been making wine in Tuscany for more than six centuries, but one Mazzei, Philip, played an indispensable role in American history. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson asked Philip, an Italian Renaissance man and friend, to plant a vineyard at his Monticello estate. Mazzei obliged, and Jefferson didn’t just soak up Philip’s ideas about viticulture. In fact, Mazzei’s writings inspired the utterly iconic phrase, “all men are created equal,” that in turn inspired the world when it appeared in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.
“All of us were told the story of Philip Mazzei,” managing director Francesco Mazzei recalls. “It not only made us feel proud to be part of our family, it made us understand that we needed to take risks in life and in the vines,” he said. The Concerto, first produced in 1981, practically sings with this same adventurous spirit. The Mazzeis were “Super Tuscan” pioneers when precious little Cabernet was planted in Tuscany, and Concerto’s historic peers are household names like Antinori’s famous Sangiovese-Cabernet blend, Tignanello, and of course, the original “Super Tuscan” Sassicaia.
What Philip Mazzei’s descendants do with the pristine fruit from this alberese, galestro, and limestone-rich soil — vinifying it meticulously before an 18-month slumber in mostly new French oak — reminds us that all wines are NOT created equal. Tuscany’s classic elegance and majesty are fully on display with this iconoclastic bottling, a new benchmark for a historic estate.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
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