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March 13, 2014

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2010

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We could not resist or at least felt obliged to release one final 2010 Super Tuscan. Cepparello Isole e Olena must be considered as one of the best priced leading landmark Estates. As with most great Super Tuscans the monumental 2010 vintage produced Cepparello Isole e Olena’s greatest ever wine. That said the Estate perennially scores 96 points. However, we think the 2010 edges their 2007, 2006 and even their 1982, a vintage that is now fully flexing its muscles.

Isole e Olena comprises two vineyards, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’, which are located near Catellina 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 the1950s. Paolo de Marchi the current owner grew up in Piedmont and was finishing his oenological studies when he purchased the Estate form 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 wines 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.’ In its youth it displays layers of dark fruit: red berries, plums and black cherry. It presents a wonderful floral fragrance, Tuscan sunflowers and tulips, enveloping mint, candy, liquorice, smoke, cigar box, tar and sweet spice. It retains a lovely freshness and acidity which after time develops into an almost Havana cigar aroma and the palate embraces leather, crushed flowers. One smell of this wine will transport you to the Tuscan hills!

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2010, 6×75 - £225 IB - 96+ points Antonio Galloni
As with most leading Super Tuscans, collectors are offered an incentive to buy on release, the 2007 already trades above £320 a case. The 2010 is outstanding and for £37.50 a bottle in bond or £47.40 duty and VAT paid, wine lovers will experience immense pleasure without paying Haut Brion prices.

Antonio Galloni, 96+ points, tasted Aug 2013
Isole e Olena’s 2010 Cepparello is magnificent. In particular, I admire the way the wine fleshes out in all directions, with seemingly endless layers of dark, mineral-infused berry, plum and pomegranate notes. A primal wine in need of significant cellaring, the 2010 is easily one of the highlights of the year. Bright, saline notes support the precise finish. Today, the 2010 is naturally quite backward and undeveloped, but it should be a gem in another 5-10 years. This is an especially dark, structured Cepparello built for the cellar. The 2010 brightens up with time in the glass, but it remains one of the darker, more brooding wines made in the estate’s history.

Monica Larner, 95 points, tasted Aug 2013
The extraordinary 2010 Cepparello (100% Sangiovese aged up to 18 months in oak, one-third new) presents fine nuances of red berry, cherry, spice, tar, licorice, wet earth and forest leaf. The bouquet is very elegant but this wine delivers power too with tight structure that immediately wraps around the palate. Somewhere in the crossroads between tradition and modernity, Cepparello is a stunning wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030.

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