Antonio Galloni recently released his Chianti Classico report and the star of the show was Isole e Olena, which received 98+ for their Grand Selezione 2010 and 97 points for their magnificent Cepparello 2012. Galloni calls the Cepparello 2012 magnificent and his 97 point score makes this the highest ever for Cepparello, besting the 96 scoring 2010 and 2006. This is truly a vintage to own, a wonderful opportunity at £37.50 per bottle for a 97 scoring wine from one of Tuscany’s leading Estates. In fact, with a Price over Points ratio (POP) of 26 this wine is considerably underrated. To put this into perspective Tignanello 2012 has been awarded 95 points and costs £265 and the 94 scoring Montevertine La Pergola Torte 2012 costs £320 per case of six. We tasted Cepparello 2012 this month and it is spellbinding, a masterpiece from Paolo de Marchi which will sell-out quickly across Europe, following Galloni’s acclamation.
Isole e Olena also have the enviable position of boasting one of the leading Chianti Classicos, made with the same brilliant winemaking that goes into Cepparello. The value for money here is remarkable, at £13.33 a bottle, or £160 per case of 12 this 90 point scoring wine represents an outstanding price versus points ratio. Isole e Olena Chianti Classico excites the senses, it is beautifully crafted, by a man who embraces truly great winemaking and attention to detail. It is rare these days to find wines that are underpriced, yet this represents the wishes of the winemaker, a visionary who makes wine to drink and be loved. The 2013 vintage is shaping up to be legendary in Tuscany and as such this vintage promises more than normal and I would comfortably state that it has a drinking window of ten years, a remarkable accomplishment for a Chianti Classico.
Isole e Olena
Isole e Olena comprises two vineyards, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’, which are located near Castellina in the very heart of Chianti Classico. Until the beginning of the 20th Century the vineyards were huddled in shallow hills, entirely isolated from one another. The two vineyards were purchased by the de Marchi family in the 1950s. Paolo de Marchi, the current owner, grew up in Piedmont and was finishing his oenological studies when he purchased the Estate from his father in 1971: an Estate he loved fondly from visits as a child. He moved down from Piedmont to unite the Isole and Olena vineyards into one and created one of Italy’s best wines. Paolo is now considered one of the leading winemakers in the world.
Isole e Olena makes several wines, which include several IGTs from international varieties and one of the best Chianti Classicos on the market. Cepparello is their flagship wine, the pinnacle of Paolo’s ability and a wine that through his passion and expertise reflects the very best of Sangiovese, it is made exclusively from it. The grapes are handpicked from the best sites on the Estate, which are sited at an altitude of 400 metres. After fermentation the wine is aged in a combination of American and French oak for 18 months. One third of the oak is new and the combination of the two oak styles. The French imparts vanilla, brioche and smoke creating something more elegant and refined. The American oak adds flavours of coconut and overt toasty notes with auxiliary power. The result is one of the most acclaimed and decorated wines from Italy.
Paolo, who has been a winemaker, boy to man, understands perhaps better than anyone how to temper the rusticity of Sangiovese. He extracts the typicity of the terroir and favours authenticity over overt verbose ostentation. Paolo harnesses the wine’s power and balances it with finesse creating something that is precise, composed and vibrant, with an extremely long velvety finish. Antonio Galloni summarises the wine perfectly ‘Cepparello is the Haut-Brion of Tuscany’s high-end, pure Sangioveses.’
Isole e Olena Cepparello 2012 6×75 – £225 IB or £284.76 incl duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 97 Points
The 2012 Cepparello is magnificent. Radiant, pliant and super-expressive, the 2012 offers magnificent intensity, with silky tannins wrapped around a core of rich, dark-toned fruit. The intensity of the fruit suggests a warm vintage, but the structure is more medium in body and typical of a cooler year. Today, the 2012 gives the impression it will drink well pretty much upon release, but history has taught me Cepparello often shuts down in bottle. Either way, the 2012 is superb. Drink 2020 -2037
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2013- 12×75 – £170 IB or £233.52 incl duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 90 Points
Classico brings together the fresh aromatics of a cool year along with lovely mid-palate pliancy. The flavors are bright, high-toned and decidedly leaning towards the red-fruit end of the spectrum. Crushed flowers, herbs and anise grace the soft, aromatic finish. The overall impression is of lovely mid-palate juiciness, even if the technical stats suggest a lighter-bodied wine. That is why wine can never be measured by numbers alone. Rain in September decimated the Syrah harvest. The little bit that was salvaged was used in the Chianti Classico. Drink 2015 -2023
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