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July 08, 2015

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2011

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Super Tuscan wines are some of our favourite tipples, and indeed they are our best-selling regional wines, for good reason.  One of our favourite Super Tuscan estates is the critically-acclaimed Isole e Olena, which not only makes delicious wines but also must be considered as one of the best-priced leading landmark estates.

Isole e Olena was founded in the 1950s when two adjoining estates, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’, were purchased by the de Marchi family.  Located in the heart of the Chianti Classico region, Isole e Olena makes several wines including IGTs from international varieties, a Chianti Classico, and Cepparello, their flagship wine made from 100% Sangiovese.  The grapes are handpicked from the best sites on the Estate, which is situated 400 metres above sea level.

Wine critic Antonio Galloni summarises Cepparello perfectly, saying, ‘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 of Tuscan sunflowers and tulips along with orange peel, sweet spices, cigar box, and tar. It retains a lovely freshness and acidity which after time develops into an almost Havana cigar aroma. The palate embraces leather and crushed flowers. One smell of this wine will transport you to the Tuscan hills!

2011 was a warm and dry vintage in Tuscany, with regular heat during the growing season which followed a cold and rainy winter, allowing the soil to reserve plenty of water for the hot summer.  The resulting wines are voluptuous and round with soft tannins, but with the capability of ageing ten to 15+ years.  Critic James Suckling said the 2011 Cepparello has ‘full body and chewy tannins’ and that he ‘love[s] the juicy, decadent character’.

Cepparello is aged in a combination of American and French oak for 18 months, with one third being new oak. 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.

The 2011 Cepparello is an outstanding wine, rated 94, 94+ & 95 by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Antonio Galloni and James Suckling, respectively. For £31.67 per bottle In Bond or £40.46 per bottle duty and VAT paid, wine lovers will experience immense pleasure without paying Haut Brion prices.

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2011, 6×75 – £190 IB or £242.76 incl duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media, 94+ points
Isole e Olena’s 2011 Cepparello is remarkably silky, polished and refined, especially considering the challenges of the vintage. Dark red stone fruits, wild flowers, menthol and sweet spices all meld together gracefully in the glass. Voluptuous and racy but also an impeccably balanced wine with phenomenal length and a super-expressive finish. The 2011 will offer a wide window of drinking pleasure pretty much upon release. 

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