Today we are delighted to release the stunning Chianti powerhouse, Isole e Olena. This is extremely exciting, their world beating Cepparello and Chianti taken together are two of the best in class wines from Italy and will be considered as two of the finest ever offerings from the Estate. As we have relentlessly reported the 2016 vintage in Tuscany follows on from the 2015 in terms of exceptional quality; now surpassing it in critical acclaim. Sassicaia 2016 has been awarded its first 100 point score since 1985 by Monica Larner of The Wine Advocate, who also scores Masseto 100 points, with many other Estates receiving their highest ever scores. Indeed, this is true of Cepparello, which has been awarded 94-97 points from Antonio Galloni, giving it the potential to be the highest ever score from him, saying ‘the 2016 Cepparello is shaping up to be another magnificent wine from proprietor Paolo De Marci… This is a super-impressive showing’. Larner is yet to release her score but says of the vintage ‘If 2015 is an ideal vintage for Tuscan blended reds made with the great Bordeaux varieties, the 2016 vintage is better suited to Italian grapes such as Sangiovese’. Priced on release at £310 per case of six, this is a stunning proposition, for a world class wine, and legendary winemaker, coming together in a blockbuster vintage.
Isole e Olena comprises of 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 by doing so created one of Italy’s best wines. Paolo is now considered one of the leading winemakers in the world.
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 £310 per case is truly exceptional.
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 which is new. 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.
Along with Fontodi’s Chianti Classico, Isole e Olena’s Chianti is the best in class which embodies incredible elegance and complexity. Galloni awards it 90-92, his tasting notes could be mistaken for Cepparello itself stating ‘the 2016 Chianti Classico is fabulous..…All of the pedigree of the vintage comes through in the wine’s textural depth and complexity’. It conjures harmony and expression and is one of the finest wines in the world for under £20 a bottle, including duty and VAT. We are very pleased to release this today at £170 in bond per case of twelve bottles or with a six bottle case of the Cepparello at £460 in bond.
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