2019 Isole e Olena 'Cepparello' Tuscany
Winemaker Notes: The flagship wine consists of 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barrels. Over the years, Paolo has refined his Cepparello by giving it more air during vinification and increasing time spent in oak from 12-14 months to 18-20 months. Although De Marchi started focusing on the use of better quality oak around 1993, it is the increased age of the vineyards themselves that have given Cepparello its overall finesse. The wine is made from a top selection of the estate’s best fruits from the vineyards in Barberino Val d’Elsa in the northern part of Chianti Classico.
The Wine Independent - 100pts - "Paolo di Marchi’s leaving present to Tuscany is this delightful 2019 Isole e Olena Cepparello. Cepparello is a blend of Sangiovese from different vineyards, selected by Di Marchi on the basis of "the best exposure, elevation, soil, genetics and age. I feel this adds complexity.” The first vintage was in 1980 when 100% Sangiovese was not permitted under the Chianti Classico rules. Those rules have since changed but the wine remains an IGT Toscana. It has a supremely enticing nose with cream and exotic spice, reminding me of Arabian spice markets. With the 2019 there is an added precision to the aromas, less heavy oak, and no greenness on the palate. It is concentrated with a rich velvety texture but without any heaviness and with a gentle unforced quality. The tannins are fine and very well integrated, in fact finer and better integrated than even the excellent 2016 vintage. It is of course very young now but it’s almost too delicious not to drink! Supremely graceful, it just gets better and better." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - "One of the icon wines of Tuscany, the Isole e Olena 2019 Cepparello is all Sangiovese crafted by the loving hands of a winemaking legend, the great Paolo De Marchi (who finalized the sale of his beloved estate when this wine hit the market). Indeed, this wine opens a discussion on the future of this celebrated IGT Toscana, a wine that followed a strict vision and style under De Marchi. It is elegant and rich with fine aromas of black and purple fruit. It ferments in oak and ages in French barrique for 20 months, with one-third new oak. With 58,000 bottles released, this is a sure candidate for long cellar aging. Rating: 97+"
Vinous - "The 2019 Cepparello has closed down quite a bit since I tasted it last year, as if all of its energy is focused inward. That won't be an issue in another few years' time, but for now readers should resist any temptation to open bottles. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous Sangiovese fruit, along with hints of blood orange, spice, cedar, mint and tobacco, all wrapped together by plush, silky contours. The purity of the fruit is just striking. In 2019, Cepparello is more finesse than power. I expect it will age beautifully over the next several decades."
Decanter - "The weather in 2019 was beautiful, with a hot, even summer with no temperature spikes, continuing into September with high variation between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Fragrant potpourri and medicinal aromas are reminiscent of the 2006, while the textured palate features pure, ripe cherry with some damp earth and even an umami hint of mushroom, cut through by bright acidity. Lively and dimensional, it's still in its youthful phase but should be superb once it's had time to grow into itself."
James Suckling - "So much licorice and fennel seed with black cherry and a hint of tomato paste. Medium body, round texture and savory flavors. Pretty and fresh at the end, with subtle flavors. Drink now or hold."
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