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Isole e Olena ‘Cepparello’ 2014

Sangiovese from Barberino Val d'Elsa, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy


$120ea in any 3+
$115ea in any 6+
Closure: Screw Cap
Isole e Olena's top wine. Always a pleasure. Year after year they seem to be drawing even more delicious expressions of Sangiovese from the special parcel of fruit!


‘Cepparello’ is named after the valley where the vineyard is planted. The last bottle I had of this was a 2006 a month ago, thanks Chris. It was superb, great harmony poise and balance. A real generosity to the wine. Beautiful secondary characters. Looking forward to trying the 2014. Isole e Olena is such a consistent producer. They’ve been on a roll for the last decade and beyond producing stunning wines. If you’d like an intro to what they’re capable of at 1/3 the price try their 2015 Chianti Classico. Overall you’ll expect one of those wines that marries power with elegance, has great personality and is a wonderful expression of Sangiovese.

Bottled under screwcap.

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Check out all of the wines by Isole e Olena

Why is this Wine so Yummy?

Isole e Olena is the combining of two adjacent farms by Paolo De Marchi.

Paolo De Marchi made one of the very finest wines of the 2014 vintage with a stunning Cepparello. De Marchi was able to push the harvest into late October and early November, which means the Sangiovese got the benefit of the warm, dry days and cool nights that arrived towards the end of the growing season, a time when the last phase of ripening took place under the gentle, shorter days of fall.

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.

Paolo made his first 100% Sangiovese, Cepparello, in 1980 and had to label it as an IGT. He spent the next two decades replanting, improving the vineyards, increasing the density and restoring the terraces.

The estate is located in the centre of the Chianti hill, on the western slope. Vineyards go from 350 to 500 metres in altitude, benefitting from a cooling breeze and resulting in colder winter temperatures than the rest of Chianti. Bud break is usually earlier tha the rest of the region, and they tend to harvest late here.

Paolo doesn’t look for power but for elegance and finesse, which are the central threads running through all his wines. When praised for his achievements, he modestly replies with a twinkle in his eyes ‘I’m just trying to do what I believe in.’

About Sangiovese

Sangiovese a red Italian wine grape variety that derives its name from the Latin sanguis Jovis, “the blood of Jupiter”. It can be extremely vigourous producing leaves the size of your head and bunches of similar size with large berries.

Where is it grown?

It’s grown throughout Tuscany in the sub-regions that make up the Chianti DOCG, where the Sangiovese Piccolo is the dominant version. Plantings in Montalcino making Brunello are typically of the Sangiovese Grosso version. We use the term version as there is some funky DNA floating around that doesn’t neatly fit into Variety or Clone. It’s a case of same same but different. You’ll find it in Sicily, Calbria and splashes around the world.

What does it taste like?

Generally lighter in colour, although as always there are exceptions.

There is an incredibly diverse array of flavours and aromas across the wines made from Sangiovese. This is true across both Chianti and Brunello wines. In Chianti this is influenced by blending with the native Canaiolo, and French varietes like Syrah and Merlot  You’ll find fresh flavours like sour cherry, shifting to dark fruits, earthy characters, florals, rich chocolate, spices and beyond. The perceived density certainly differs across the wine. Like most varieties the styles that can be made are incredibly diverse.

You’ll typically find higher perceived acidity in good Sangiovese.

Where in the World do these Wines Come From?

Chianti is a sub-region of Tuscany. Other sub-regions include Montalcino and Montepuliciano. Like Montalcino, Chianti covers a large area and is relatively poorly defined in comparison to the likes of Barolo.

As is often the case with Italian wines there is confusion created by an ever changing general classification system. In this case we have wines two basic designation. The first, the Chianti Classico DOCG for which you see a black rooster on the label or neck tie which come from a defined area between Florence and Sienna. The Second Chianti DOCG or greater Chianti region that surrounds the Chianti Classico DOCG which in turn is broken up into seven sub-regions as seen in the second map below.

Isole e Olena – Is in the Chianti Classico DOCG, sub-region Barberino Val d’Elsa to the west of Radda

97 Points

The 2014 Cepparello is one of the truly great wines of the vintage. Vivid and intense in all of its dimensions, it exudes purity from start to finish. Silky tannins, expressive aromatics and beautifully delineated, bright, layered Sangiovese fruit are some of the signatures. In 2014, Paolo De Marchi produced an epic Cepparello for the ages. Don't miss it. Tasted Jan 2018

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

95 Points

Here is another big surprise from an underdog vintage. The 2014 Cepparello had recently been bottled when I preview tasted it, but it is far from its release date. Paolo De Marchi sold off any finished wine that did not live up to his standards and picked the very best results for this edition. Production this vintage is down by almost a quarter. This is a beauty. It flaunts a deep, dark appearance with succulent fruit, savory spice, leather and grilled herb. The oak element needs additional time to integrate and it surely will as the wine continues its slow bottle evolution. Only a third of the blend is aged in new oak. This upcoming Cepparello is a wine of substance and distinction.

Monica Larner

94 Points

Blue flower, perfumed berry, cake spice and a whiff of French oak are just some of the aromas that swirl out of the glass. Racy and refined, the savory palate doles out juicy wild cherry, crushed raspberry and oak-driven spice alongside bright acidity and well-integrated tannins. It's still young, with plenty of verve but it's also balanced. Give this plenty of time to fully develop. Drink 2022–2034.

Kerin O'Keefe

Where in the world does the magic happen?

Località Isole, 1 - Barberino Val d'Elsa, 1, 50021 Barberino Val D'elsa FI, Italy

Barberino Val d'Elsa
Chianti Classico