Paolo de Marchi, who has now completed his 45 vintages, is one of Tuscany’s most renown “players”. However, many are puzzled to learn his career began in Piedmont where his family farmed a small Barolo estate. In the 1950s Paolo’s father seized the opportunity to purchase two adjoining very small Chianti estates, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’. In 1976, the 25 year old Paolo took over the property, and in 1980 he produced the his first 100% Sangiovese – Cepparello. Today, Paolo is affectionately called “Mr. Sangiovese”
Many of you purchased the stunning 2016, and now the 2017 is available…..I expect the 2018 to arrive this Fall and you will certainly be alerted! If you purchased the 2016, you should want to continue your vertical, if not then this is another ideal vintage to begin. The always highly rated Isole e Olena’s flagship Cepparello is 100% Sangiovese, produced from a top selection of estate’s best fruit from its oldest and highest elevated organically grown vineyards in the Barberino Val d’Elsa in the northern part of the Chianti Classico zone. Fermented in open top wood vats for over 30 days to provide more air during vinification, and then aged in a combination of barrique and larger French oak vats for 20 months (30% new).
Again the ratings are excellent!
Vinous’ Antonio Galloni going 97 points – “The 2017 Cepparello is another in a series of stunningly beautiful Cepparellos from Paolo de Marchi. Bright and beautifully focused in the glass, with tremendous depth, the 2017 is positively stellar from the very first taste. Succulent dark cherry, plum, licorice, spice, menthol and coffee all open up with a bit of air. Here, too, Paolo De Marchi has done a tremendous job in preserving freshness in the wine. Readers who can muster the patience will be rewarded with a spectacular wine.” September 2020.
Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner at 95+ points – “The Isole e Olena 2017 Cepparello is one of the great Sangiovese-based wines of the vintage. From a growing season that was challenging for almost everyone in Italy, this wine sails through, pushed by profound sense of varietal purity. This dark, mid-weight red reveals lifted tones of cherry, wild rose, rosemary essence, toasted almond and potting soil. These components come together with seamless transitions and a polished finish. The tannins are elegant and integrated. The wine defies the expectation of the vintage”. September 2020
James Suckling 95 points – “A beautifully linear and refined Sangiovese with polished tannins and super tight fruit. Yet, it shows subtle complexity of blackberries, black cherries and dark chocolate. Some hazelnuts. Intense, vibrant finish with a creamy texture. Extremely well done for this hot, dry vintage. Drink after 2023. September 2020
Wine Enthusiast’s Kerrin O’Keefe 94 points – “Scorched earth, new leather, ripe black-skinned berry and balsamic whiffs of camphor and cedar form the nose. Smooth and juicy, the savory palate delivers ripe Morello cherry, mature plum, toasted hazelnut and ground clove set against velvety, enveloping tannins. Drink 2022 -2029.” February 2021