The Mazzei family is among the stalwarts of Tuscan wine with a bloodline seeping well into the Middle Ages, as do those of the Ricasoli, Frescobaldi and Antinori families. Standing in the reception hall of the Mazzei winery Castello di Fonterutoli, a fresco of the Mazzei family tree looms large – 24 generation pedigree dating to the 1200s.
It was Ser Lapo Mazzei (1350-1412), winemaker and notary who is accredited with the first reference to the name "Chianti" as recorded on an invoice to a wine nearby wine merchant.
It was Filippo Mazzei (1730-1816) a progressive political thinker, doctor, and scholar who befriended Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He transported Tuscan rootstocks to Virginia at the request of Jefferson. In his letters to Jefferson, Fillipo provided the inspiration for the words "All men are created equal." Jefferson of course authored the Declaration of Independence.
The family continues the traditions of Tuscany, its wine, they are inextricably linked, but ever evolving. The remarkable success of international varietals planted in Tuscany during the past 40 years has certainly created diversity in offerings, styles, and a new way of thinking among the Mazzei family and throughout the region.