Today we are delighted to release Isole e Olena Cepparello 2014. The 2014 vintage in Tuscany saw a cool spring, followed by a period of high temperatures, which caused an early bud break and plentiful fruit set. Late June and in particular July and August experienced the cool weather. A mild and dry September and October turned what would have been a difficult red vintage into an unexpectedly good vintage. In 2014, Cepparello has received one of its highest ever scores from Antonio Galloni, 95-97 points. Moreover, Monica Larner has awarded Cepparello 93-95 points and included it in her 2014 report which names the Tuscan Ten, her special selection of the ten most iconic wines of Chianti classic and Bolgheri. As can be seen from the table below, in 2014 Cepparello offers incredible quality versus price. Priced today at £260 per case of six, it can be viewed as a must buy in relation to Masseto, Solaia and Ornellaia which have the same or similar projected scores.

2014Marchesi Antinori Solaia95£730
2014Tua Rita Redigaffi94£690
2014Le Macchiole Messorio93-95£630
2014Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve95£260
2014Isole e Olena Cepparello93-95 £260

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. It is 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 one of the best Chianti Classico on the market, embodying incredible elegance and complexity, it conjures harmony and expression and is one of the finest wines in the world for under £20 a bottle. 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, split between the two varieties. 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 his entire life, 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 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.’ As such the price tag of £260 per case is truly exceptional. Antonio Galloni describes Cepparello 2014 as ‘mind-blowingly beautiful…, the 2014 possesses remarkable depth and intensity.’ He goes on to say that ‘Cepparello will be one of the big surprises of the vintage.’ Monica Larner calls it a ‘wine of substance and distinction.’ In 2015 Paolo De Marchi sold off any grapes in his vineyards that did not reach full maturity and as such quality is very high, but production is down over 25%.

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2014, 6×75 – £260 IB

95-97 Points, Antonio Galloni
Isole e Olena’s 2014 Cepparello is mind-blowingly beautiful. The product of a long, cool growing season with perfect weather at the end of the fall. Dark, savory and intensely mineral, the 2014 possesses remarkable depth and intensity. In 2014, the grapes reached full maturity at lower sugars than is the norm today. I tasted the 2014 from an assortment of barrels. If the finished wine is like the wine I tasted from barrel, the 2014 Cepparello will be one of the big surprises of the vintage. I love the mid-palate depth here. 

93-95 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
Here is another big surprise from an underdog vintage. The 2014 Cepparello had recently been bottled when I preview tasted it, but it is far from its release date. Paolo De Marchi sold off any finished wine that did not live up to his standards and picked the very best results for this edition. Production this vintage is down by almost a quarter. This is a beauty. It flaunts a deep, dark appearance with succulent fruit, savory spice, leather and grilled herb. The oak element needs additional time to integrate and it surely will as the wine continues its slow bottle evolution. Only a third of the blend is aged in new oak. This upcoming Cepparello is a wine of substance and distinction.

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