The Wine Advocate’s most recent issue features Monica Larner’s 2013 Tuscan report, which waxes lyrical about the exceptional nature of the vintage. It is particularly memorable and collectable. Throughout the year the vines experienced exceptional conditions: cool spring lowered yields, while a cool summer ripened the grapes slowly and Autumn followed suit, allowing the grape growers to pick ripe and balanced fruit. In her report, Monica Larner asserts that ‘The 2013 growing season is particularly well suited to the late-ripening Sangiovese grape.’ As such it comes as no surprise that the leading producers have created something magical in 2013, it is a vintage to stock up on if you love Tuscan wine.

In 2013 Isole e Olena’s Cepparello has received its highest ever score from the Wine Advocate, a stellar 97 points. This represents an incredible effort from the owner Paolo de Marchi who Larner describes as a ‘blue-chip winemaker’, he is. She goes on to say ‘His 2013 Cepparello (100% Sangiovese) is one of the best wines I tasted from Tuscany this year…. Hands down beautiful. The 2013 Cepparello is a creation of stunning elegance and balance. A pure expression of Sangiovese.’ We are delighted that we have been able to source another parcel which we can offer at the original release price of £260 per case of six. We consider Cepparello one of the world’s best priced leading wines, yet £43 a bottle for a wine with 97 points from the Wine Advocate is a rare thing, and to put this in perspective Solaia 2013 received 97+ points and trades at £725 per case of six. Cepparello 2013 is a must buy wine!

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.

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 and one of our favourite wines from any region, it is a knockout.

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2013, 6×75 – £260 IB – 97 Points – Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

Hands down beautiful, The 2013 Cepparello is a creation of stunning elegance and balance. A pure expression of Sangiovese, this wine undergoes a sophisticated oak regime that sees ageing in various barrel sizes and barrique of various ages. It lives 18 months of its life in French and 3% American oak before being released. This vintage (that is cooler compared to 2012 and 2011) delivers an exceptionally soft and mellow bouquet with slightly sweet sensations of ripe cherry and fragrant blue flower. Soft tones of spice and cinnamon bring up the rear. The wine is medium to full in terms of body weight, and the finish is driven by cool tones of balsam and menthol herb. The 2013 Cepparello is one of my favorite wines of the vintage.

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