The 2019 Cepparello has closed down quite a bit since I tasted it last year, as if all of its energy is focused inward. That won't be an issue in another few years' time, but for now readers should resist any temptation to open bottles. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous Sangiovese fruit, along with hints of blood orange, spice, cedar, mint and tobacco, all wrapped together by plush, silky contours. The purity of the fruit is just striking. In 2019, Cepparello is more finesse than power. I expect it will age beautifully over the next several decades.
Drink 2027 - 2044
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Jul 2022)
So much licorice and fennel seed with black cherry and a hint of tomato paste. Medium body, round texture and savory flavors. Pretty and fresh at the end, with subtle flavors. Drink now or hold.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Jul 2022)
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.