The history of the Mazzei family is closely woven into Tuscany’s winemaking history, as well as this venerated region’s political and cultural past. The first recorded mention of the Mazzei family – originally from the winemaking area of Carmignano – was noted in documents traced back to the early 11th century.
Today, after nearly six centuries, the Mazzei family (under the guidance of Lapo Mazzei, with the help of his sons, Filippo and Francesco), remains devoted to winemaking, with an eye towards innovation and an abiding respect for the land. A rich history combined with consistently high quality winemaking over centuries has made the Mazzei family like none other and one of Italy’s most renowned and respected wine producers.
Castello di Fonterutoli, source of some of Italy’s most prestigious wines, is an historic property embracing an entire tranquil, centuries-old hamlet just south of Castellina in Chianti, in the heart of Chianti Classico. The estate has been in the hands of the Mazzei family since 1435. This dynamic family has carefully safeguarded the inherent beauty and rich heritage of Fonterutoli, while simultaneously implementing measures to ensure cutting-edge quality in the vineyards and cellars. An exciting example of this dedication to quality is the in-progress construction of a stunning new cellar that operates via gravity and clean energy, and has already been defined as “the most impressive in the entire Chianti region” by Steven Spurrier of Decanter magazine.
The pioneering Mazzei family, took the helm at the Belguardo estate in Maremma, Tuscany in the 1990s after recognizing the potential for superb quality winemaking in the local terroir. In the years since, the Mazzeis have established a name for Belguardo among the top producers in this exciting, fast emerging wine region. Mazzei’s Zisola comes from the Mazzei family property in southeastern Sicily, just outside the historic town of Noto. Limited-production, elegant Sicilian red wines of great complexity, concentration and aging potential, Zisola wines are based on Sicily's indigenous Nero d’Avola grape.
The spectacular Fonterutoli hamlet – which includes a cluster of houses, the church of San Miniato and the 16th century family villa – today comprises 470 hectares, of which 79 hectares are devoted to four distinct vineyard sites: Fonterutoli, Siepi, Badiola and Belvedere. The Sangiovese grape finds itself particularly at home in these four areas, which are planted at altitudes varying between 750 and 1,640 feet above sea level, at south and southwest exposure. The rocky limestone and sandstone soil structure, high density planting (7,000 plants per hectare) and low yields of less than 40 hectoliters per hectare result in the production of complex, elegant and powerful Sangiovese wines.
Mazzei is considered by many to be the definitive wine producer in the Chianti Classico region, and indeed one of the most prestigious in all Italy. The family produces highly sought-after, critically acclaimed wines from their estate vineyards, each an exclusive and elegant expression of its terroir, and history including the icon family wine, Siepi IGT Toscana - a single vineyard Sangiovese-Merlot blend and Philip – dedicated to the American Patriot Philip Mazzei, and Castello di Fonterutoli.
Located just 30 miles south of Florence and less than 8 miles north of Siena, Fonterutoli is the perfect choice for a day visit or a longer, relaxing vacation retreat. Just off the hamlet’s main square, a handful of charming guest accommodations are available for rental; each is furnished in elegant Tuscan country style, and adorned with pieces from the family’s personal collection of paintings and antiques.
Guests can stroll the cobbled streets and soak in the extraordinary landscape of this quaint village set against a backdrop of rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves. Exquisite dining at Osteria di Fonterutoli enables guests to experience the finest in Tuscan cuisine made from fresh local ingredients while overlooking the vineyards. At Enoteca di Fonterutoli, guided tours of the estate and tastings are available by appointment.
The Mazzei family, historic owners of Tuscany’s renowned Fonterutoli estate, are proud to present Zisola, limited-production, elegant Sicilian red wines of great complexity, concentration and aging potential. Based on Sicily's indigenous Nero d’Avola grape, Zisola comes from the Mazzei family property in southeastern Sicily, just outside the historic town of Noto.
Noto, celebrated for its Baroque architecture, is nestled in one of the most beautiful and spectacular areas of the region and is protected by Unesco as a world heritage site. Here, in this alluring spot rich in history and culture, the Mazzeis have pioneered an ambitious project to fulfil the potential of this area.
The thumbprint that appears on the Zisola label is that of Francesco Mazzei who, together with his father Lapo and his brother Filippo, is dedicated to placing the Mazzei family’s mark of uncompromised quality on this exciting viticultural region.
The 50 hectare (124 acre) property is planted to vines as well as olive, citrus and almond trees, typical of this southern landscape. A small but efficient cellar is equipped with temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for fermentation, along with 200 French barriques for aging.
Vineyards currently cover approximately 17 hectares (42 acres) of the estate, mainly calcareous soils planted chiefly to Nero d’Avola vines trained in the traditional alberello (free standing) style. Small amounts of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot are also cultivated. The vines enjoy a west/southwest exposure and benefit from a steady sea breeze, which cools the vineyards during the hot summer days and warms the land in the winter. This exceptional microclimate permits ideal ripening of the grapes and yields elegant wines that stand out for their character and aroma.