Isole e Olena

2006 Isole e Olena Cepparello IGT Toscana


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Cepparello was a Super Tuscan before being a Super Tuscan was cool. In fact, many people credit Isole e Olena proprietor Paolo De Marchi with producing, in Cepparello, the very first wine of the genre back in 1980.  His dissatisfaction with the then-required Chianti Classico 'formula' compelled him to produce a wine made of pure Sangiovese and age it in oak barrels, even though he'd have to call it Table Wine. 
The Tuscans were appalled at this native Piemontese iconoclast who would rather label his best wine from his oldest vines 'Vino da Tavola' rather than the far more prestigious Chianti Classico appellation. Of course it wasn’t long before many figured out the implications of this concept and followed suit, giving birth, in the process, to the whole sub-category of Tuscan wines that out-Chianti'd Chianti, a.k.a. The Super Tuscan.

The first Cepparellos were mammoth, super-tannic wines that required long, long aging periods to drink well, but as time passed De Marchi gradually refined his approach to fermenting and cellaring the wine, in part by replacing his giant old Slovenian oak casks with smaller, newer French oak barrels and, in the modern Cepparello, finesse rather than power has become the byword.  I’d say that the modern era for the wine began in the early 1990s and has time has marched on, it has become progressively better and better with the vintages since 2005 being, by far, the template for De Marchi’s ultimate vision for Cepparello . A great bottle of Cepparello is everything Sangiovese should smell like- black cherries, wood smoke, buttery leather, faded flowers, dried currant and more….a lot more. On the palate, it feels more like Margaux than Chianti as its iron-oxide/mineral flavors drive the texture before fleshing out on an incredible, hallmark Sangiovese finish. It’s a tour de force of Tuscan winemaking that has proved to be an incredible ager as well.

This extremely rare vertical of Cepparello has come directly from the cellars of Isole e Olena and each bottle has travelled no further than the cantina’s loading dock before coming here under the watchful eye of Dalla Terra, the winery’s longtime importer.  Here’s your chance to get an instant cellar!