2010 Cepparello, Isole e Olena, Tuscany, Italy
Monica Larner - 29/08/2013
James Suckling - JamesSuckling.com - 02-Jul-2013
About this WINE
Isole e Olena
The Isole et Olena Estate, run by Paolo de Marchi for 45 years, is a Tuscan property that has seen a dramatic rise in quality over the last few decades. Paolo's family, originally from Piedmont, purchased the estate in the 1960s. His attention to detail in both the vineyard and the winery was the driving force that turned quality around. The estate was purchased by the EPI group recently, who have expertise in Tuscany, also owning the famed Montalcino estate Biondi-Santi.
The wines have Cepparello at their head, a barrique-aged Sangiovese classified as an IGT - because at the time of its creation in the 1980s a wine comprising 100% Sangiovese could not legally be labelled as Chianti. There is a Chianti Classico and a Vin Santo, as well as some excellent wines from the Collezione de Marchi label, including a Syrah called Eremo, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay.
A black grape widely grown in Central Italy and the main component of Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano as well as being the sole permitted grape for the famed Brunello di Montalcino.
It is a high yielding, late ripening grape that performs best on well-drained calcareous soils on south-facing hillsides. For years it was blighted by poor clonal selection and massive overcropping - however since the 1980s the quality of Sangiovese-based wines has rocketed upwards and they are now some of the most sought after in the world.
It produces wines with pronounced tannins and acidity, though not always with great depth of colour, and its character can vary from farmyard/leather nuances through to essence of red cherries and plums. In the 1960s the advent of Super Tuscans saw bottlings of 100% Sangiovese wines, as well as the introduction of Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blends, the most famous being Tignanello.
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Isole e Olena's 2010 Cepparello is magnificent. In particular, I admire the way the wine fleshes out in all directions, with seemingly endless layers of dark, mineral-infused berry, plum and pomegranate notes. A primal wine in need of significant cellaring, the 2010 is easily one of the highlights of the year. Bright, saline notes support the precise finish. Today, the 2010 is naturally quite backward and undeveloped, but it should be a gem in another 5-10 years. This is an especially dark, structured Cepparello built for the cellar. The 2010 brightens up with time in the glass, but it remains one of the darker, more brooding wines made in the estate's history.
Antonio Galloni - Aug-2013
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