Isole e Olena Cepparello 2010
Sangiovese from Tuscany, Italy
Cepparello is one of Italy's most iconic wines and a reflection of Paolo De Marchi's career. 1980 was the first vintage produced, but it started in the vineyard in the early 70's. The common misunderstanding that Sangiovese needed to be blended with Bordeaux varieties to be great puzzled Paolo, he said the problem isn't with Sangiovese; it's with us, we don't know how to farm it. From there he started a 20 year journey of clonal selection and viniculture that ended with what today is considered the baseline for producing great Sangiovese in Chianti Classico. Today Cepparello, named after a small seasonal stream among the vineyards, is a selection of the estates best fruit. Soils primarily Galestro, vineyards orientated Southwest and are 400 meters above sea-level.
Wine Enthusiast - "It opens with an enticing fragrance of black berries, toast, Mediterranean spices and a touch of vanilla. The vibrant, youthful palate delivers a core of black cherry accented with black pepper layered with mocha, mint and tobacco notes. The racy acidity and solid but brooding tannins demonstrate that this wine still needs time to develop to its extraordinary potential. Drink 2018–2035.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "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.
The Wine Advocate - "At times the 2010 Cepparello reminds me of the 2004, but with more depth. Finessed tannins frame the fruit in this medium-bodied, totally gracious Cepparello. There is no shortage of personality here. Production was down in 2010 owing to a difficult and fickle growing season. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2035.
James Suckling - "This is tangy and delicious with blueberry and cherry character. Full body, with slightly chewy tannins and a bright acidity with a clean and tangy finish. So delicious to drink now. Drink or hold. "
Wine Spectator - "A round, enticing style, with a touch of new oak lending toast and spice accents to the black cherry, plum and tobacco flavors. Dense and slightly beefy, finishing long. "
Decanter - "One of the prototypes of the all-Sangiovese Super Tuscan. Cherry brandy and smoky tar on the nose, still very young and slightly unformed. Blackberry fruit on the palate and gritty tannins, firm structure, great length with hints of white pepper and sage in the finish. "
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Isole e Elena Winery
Isole e Olena was formed in the 1950's when the DeMarchi family purchased two vineyards in the heart of the Chianti Classico region and combined them into one. Since the 1970's, Paolo DeMarchi has become a leading winemaker in the region by experimenting to improve the Chianti blends and by making wines from 100% Sangiovese (which he labels Cepparello). The goal is producing complex wines with good aging potential. View all Isole e Elena Wines
About TuscanyView a map of Tuscany wineries (TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold