Overview The Wine
Antonio Galloni "Proprietor Paolo De Marchi has left an indelible and highly personal stamp on Isole e Olena, and all of Chianti Classico for that matter. Originally of Piedmontese descent, De Marchi stands apart from many of his colleagues for his vocal opinions and intense dedication to the vineyard above all else. Since taking over his family’s estate in the late 1970s, De Marchi has transformed Isole e Olena into a powerhouse. The flagship Cepparello is 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barrels. This nearly complete vertical charts the history of one of Tuscany’s most compelling wines. The first Cepparellos were vinified in cement. The cellar was heated to induce malolactic fermentation and the wines were subsequently aged roughly equal parts Slavonian oak casks and smaller French oak barriques, with a dollop of chestnut barrels thrown into the mix. It was a time of enormous sacrifice, given that green harvesting was viewed as throwing money out of the window, and every purchase of new French oak barrels was accompanied by a stern reprimand from De Marchi’s father to pay attention to costs. But De Marchi persevered. The fruits of his hard labor and pricing are amply captured in these magnificent wines.Over the years Cepparello has acquired a level of finesse it rarely had at the outset. Some of the refinements include giving the wines more air in vinification and an increase in the period of elevage in oak from 12-14 months to 18-20 months, which is the norm today. De Marchi says he started getting better quality oak around 1993, but it is the increased age of the vineyards themselves that have given Cepparello its finesse."
Isole e Olena was formed in the 1950's when the DeMarchi family purchased two vineyards in the heart of the Chianti Classico region and combined them into one. Since the 1970's, Paolo DeMarchi has become a leading winemaker in the region by experimenting to improve the Chianti blends and by making wines from 100% Sangiovese (which he labels Cepparello). The goal is producing complex wines with good aging potential.
Grape / Blend
Polished, silky, nuanced and exceptionally beautiful, this wine exudes freshness and energy from start to finish. Succulent red cherry, plum, lavender and tobacco notes have exceptional length. The purity of the flavors is striking. A monumental Cepparello and one that will be long lived and perfection from now through 2030.
92 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Cepparello emerges from the glass with sweet herbs, flowers, mint and licorice. There is a distinctly high-toned register to the 2008 that is largely the result of a year with very cold temperatures in the final phase of ripening. This mid-weight Cepparello stands apart for its pure energy and drive. Though outstanding today, the 2008 also appears to have plenty of potential for the future. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2029.
92 Points - James Suckling
Aromas of spices and berries, with hints of toasted oak. Full body, with chewy tannins and a fruity finish. This is tight and structured. Very firm now. Needs to soften. Give it at least until 2014.
92 Points - Stephen Tanzer
Bright medium red. Captivating, complex aromas of red cherry, raspberry, rose petal, fresh herbs and tobacco. Densely packed, suave and fine-grained, with lovely floral lift and energy and a texture that reminded me of Burgundy. Finishes with subtle fine but firm tannins and enticing rising length. This classic perfumed Sangiovese is balanced to age but is irresistible already.
91 Points - Wine Spectator
Plenty of balsamic and wild scrub aromas and flavors highlight this sinewy red. With air, bilberry and raspberry fruit emerges, showing plenty of character. The finish is long and savory. Sangiovese. Drink now through 2020.