Isole e Olena Cepparello IGT 2016
A beautiful expression of Sangiovese that will become even more gorgeous with time. This wine’s got a spot reserved in your cellar, to enjoy between 2023–2036.
Bright ruby red colour. Beautiful and seductive, with an impressive array of fruit and spice aromas. Black and red cherries, dark plum, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, the rich fruitiness of the wine is touched with oak and vanilla spice. The full-bodied and red fruit palate is well-balanced with velvety tannins and a fresh, persistent finish.
This flagship Cepparello is 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barrels. One of Tuscany’s most compelling wines, the style emphasises finesse over power. The name Cepparello is taken from an old stream, Borro Cepparello, originating in the highest point of the vineyards on the Isole e Olena estate. The first Cepparellos were vinified in cement. The cellar was heated to induce malolactic fermentation and the wines were subsequently aged roughly equal parts Slavonian oak casks and smaller French oak barriques, with a dollop of chestnut barrels thrown into the mix.
Today, only the top selection of grapes from the estate’s vineyards in Barberino Val d’Else are used to create this wine. The vineyard is located in the northern part of Chianti Classico, situated 400 metres above sea level, facing southwest, with primarily galestro (schistous clay) soils. After a manual harvest and gentle crushing, the must ferments on skins in oak vats for 3 weeks at 30–32°C. Délestage and pumping over is carried out twice a day to give good colour and soft tannins. The maceration tank is emptied of the fermenting must, the cap dried out for 4–5 hours and then the must is poured back over the cap. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked into barrels. The wine is 100% barrel-aged, a third in new French and American oak (with American barrels making up 5% of the total), a third in one-year-old oak and the remaining third in two-year-old oak. The wine ages in barrel for 20 months and then matures in bottle for one year before release.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
– 98 POINTS
Paolo de Marchi’s ‘study in Sangiovese’ is a selection of the vintage’s finest grapes from Isole e Olena’s oldest vineyards, high up in Chianti Classico’s western sector of Barberino Tavarnelle. Harvested in mid-October, it is a captivating tangle of earth, spring blossom, coffee, tobacco and cedar. Perfumed lavender and violet lift the generous dark fruit and the brilliantly tactile powdery texture lends further dimension. This reaches great depths while simultaneously soaring effortlessly to heady heights. Positively succulent and more-ish on the finish.
– 97 POINTS
The beautiful Isole e Olena 2016 Cepparello is a gorgeous and precise expression of Sangiovese. This is one of the icon wines of the vintage that shows a naked and transparent portrait of the grape on the one hand, with the complexity of the vintage and its territory on the other. Cepparello is like a crystal ball into the heart and soul of Sangiovese, Tuscany’s mighty red grape. It is fermented in conical oak casks and later aged 20 months in 95% French and 5% American oak, of which only one-third is new wood. The wine delivers ample structure and contouring, with a firm and silky consistency at its core. Some 42,000 bottles were made. This wine should age over the better part of the next 20 years.
– 97 POINTS
– 96 POINTS
Cedar, pipe tobacco, black-skinned fruit and balsamic aromas shape the nose along with French oak and iris. Full bodied and elegant, the savory palate has nice weight, doling out mature Marasca cherry, black plum, espresso, orange zest and exotic spice while fresh acidity keeps it balanced. It’s still young, with tight-knit tannins, and needs time to come into its own. Drink 2023–2036.
This is a beautiful Cepparello with transparency and verve; it opens with dark cherries, blackberries, citrus, cumin, Thai basil and eucalyptus. What really strikes you about this wine are not the first sensations of muscular tannin, nor the plush fruit suspended above darker spices — though they are all impressive — but the sudden dart of acidity on the long finish that appears seemingly from nowhere and keeps you coming back for more. Drink from 2023.
– 93 POINTS
This is full of ripe black cherry, plum, earth and mineral flavors, the sweet fruit meshing with dense, dusty tannins. There is a light touch of oak spice, and the finish is long and structured. Best from 2021 through 2028.