You won’t be able to sample the glorious 2016 Brunello di Montalcino until early March of 2020, but if you want to get an early jump on this great Tuscan vintage for its pure 100% Sangiovese, you don’t need to wait for one of the all time classics! Isole e Olena sets the gold standard with its Cepparello, and the 2016 is a MUST HAVE legend in the making already garnering 97 point ratings from Wine Advocate and Antonio Galloni (Parker’s former Italian editor at Wine Advocate), and 96 points from Kerin O’Keefe at Wine Enthusiast. Personally, Cepparello remains one of the most coveted gems in my cellar. One does need to wait a few years before it blooms into full glory, and then rest assured, it will continue to be as compelling and profound as any of your finest wines for years to come.
“The beautiful Isole e Olena 2016 Cepparello is a gorgeous and precise expression of Sangiovese. This is one of the icon wines of the vintage that shows a naked and transparent portrait of the grape on the one hand, with the complexity of the vintage and its territory on the other. Cepparello is like a crystal ball into the heart and soul of Sangiovese, Tuscany’s mighty red grape. It is fermented in conical oak casks and later aged 20 months in 95% French and 5% American oak, of which only one-third is new wood. The wine delivers ample structure and contouring, with a firm and silky consistency at its core. Some 42,000 bottles were made. This wine should age over the better part of the next 20 years.” – 97 points, Wine Advocate (ML)
“The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!” 97+ point Vinous, Antonio Galloni
“Cedar, pipe tobacco, black-skinned fruit and balsamic aromas shape the nose along with French oak and iris. Full bodied and elegant, the savory palate has nice weight, doling out mature Marasca cherry, black plum, espresso, orange zest and spice while fresh acidity keeps it balanced. It’s still young, with tight-knit tannins, and needs time to come into its own. Drink 2023–2036.” – 96 points, Wine Enthusiast, Kerin O’Keefe