2008 Isole e Olena - Cepparello
There is probably no producer in the world more respected by fellow winemakers than Paolo. FromSanta BarbaratoSonoma, from Burgundy to Piedmont, hundreds of producers have made the pilgrimage to Isole e Olena to find one of the world’s most magnificent properties, a 200-acre testimony to viticultural genius. Isole and Olena are two tiny villages located on opposite ends of the property. Rich forest gives way to beautiful hillside vineyards, tightly spaced rows of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Syrah and Chardonnay.
Occasionally, Paolo speaks of his 30 year journey at Isole, during which time he turned a poorly tended family estate into the jewel ofTuscany. In the early days, sharecroppers picked grapes with one hand as they tossed wheat with the other; the return on wheat was better than Sangiovese! Paolo traveled, learning about viticulture in Piedmont,France and California. He realized that Sangiovese was an incredibly temperamental variety and worked with local oenologists and laboratories, studying clonal options, spacing in the vineyards, exposure. Isole’s vineyards needed to be completely overhauled, a monumental task given the poor market conditions. By the late 1990’s, Paolo headed up an effort called ‘Sangiovese 2000’ to develop new Sangiovese clones, specifically designed for the tight spacing and low yields that Paolo new to be essential for creating world class Sangiovese at Isole. By 2001, the greatest part of Isole e Olena had been replanted, leaving only the old vine Canaiolo as a reminder of Paolo’s first days at Isole.
Paolo di Marchi tends his vines naturally, to produce grapes that lend themselves to fine, aromatically complex wines. His goal is to make wine that best reflects the nature of his vineyard and the year, making powerful wines when the vintage allows it, making elegant, pretty wine when appropriate. Regardess of vintage or varietal, the wines of Isole e Olena are uncanny in their ability to enhance and complement – and not overpower - great food which has made the wines welcome in world’s finest restaurants.
Cepparello, a 100% pure Sangiovese from the heart of the Chianti Classico area, is quintessential Tuscan wine. Paolo De Marchi has established a new standard for Sangiovese-based wines by assembling the very best of his fruit, grown on the high hill of San Donato in Poggio, and vinifying it for fourteen months in small barrels, one third of which new. The result is of stunning complexity and even if very approachable young, definitely worth ageing.