The 2018 Cepparello is a brilliant, tightly wound wine that is going to need a number of years to unwind. Today I very much like its energy and vibrancy. Readers will find a Cepparello that is more about persistence than volume. Dark red/purplish berry fruit, spice, lavender and menthol are laced into the silky finish.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (Sep 2021)
A pure expression of Sangiovese, the 2018 Cepparello is a beautiful expression that speaks to the classic and most exemplary side of this versatile and deeply expressive grape. This vintage is especially bright and ethereal with a true sense of luminosity and clarity that radiates from both the wine's appearance and its fragrant bouquet. Tart cherry and cassis segue to balsam herb and wild violets. To the palate, the wine shows muscle and determination with sweet tannins and impressive depth of favor. Cepparello remains true to its unique identity in this vintage. Production is 42,000 bottles.
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (Oct 2021)
The aromas of dark fruit and hazelnuts are so enticing, with undertones of licorice and slate. Medium to full body with round tannins and a savory finish. It’s so pretty to taste now. Just a hint of allspice at the end. Drinkable now, but better in 2023.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Aug 2021)
Like the 2018 Chianti Classico, Cepparello shows no dilution, although the pure Sangiovese fruit gives a more austere structure. The sour cherry nose is lightly smoky but refined. Rich and very concentrated, the palate is supported by firm tannins that are in stark contrast to the breezier Chianti Classico. At present it's rather closed and furry, and needs time to harmonise and the tannins to integrate. The high alcohol doesn't show, and there's ample energy on the long finish.
Stephen Brook, Decanter (Apr 2021)
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.
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.