Cepparello 2020 – Isole e Olena.
After reviewing two high quality wines from Isole e Olena, it is safe to say that we have saved the best for last. Today we are reviewing a Super Tuscan and icon of the Chianti region, the 2020 Cepparello by Isole e Olena.
This review is part of our project “Tuscany, a Journey through Five Lenses”.
By now you already know quite a bit about Paolo de Marchi’s history, when it comes to his prize-winning vineyards. It has been an absolute blast for us to dive deeper into his story and to share this with you.
Do you remember what we told you previously, regarding Paolo’s new vineyard where he planted only his best vines? The ones that needed at least five tags in order to make the cut? Well, this was actually the starting point for the Cepparello that we are looking at now, because here he started his own selection of the Sangiovese grapes.
Even though all vines were of top quality, Paolo decided to harvest the best of the best grapes last and to make a wine out of this to experiment. The best not of a single vineyard, but of the best vine selection. This is exactly what the Cepparello stands for, made from 100% of the highest quality Sangiovese grapes.
So maybe the fact that we just mentioned that the Cepparello consist of 100% Sangiovese already rings a bell. If not, no worries. We will explain it to you! Earlier we explained that Chianti (Classico) received its DOCG status in 1984. However, in order for producers to be allowed to put this classification on the bottle, the wine has to meet all the requirements. The requirement for a Chianti Classico is that it consists of a minimum of 80% Sangiovese grapes and a maximum of 20% other red grapes (Colorino, Canaiolo Nero, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot).
Before these regulations, it was actually mandatory to blend in order to get the DOCG status. So, when the wine was first put on the market, the Cepparello was not allowed to carry the DOCG classification and was therefore classified as an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wine. This classification is third on the list of Italian wine classification, which are DOCG, DOC, IGT and lastly, Vino da Tavola, or table wine. Nowadays, the Cepparello would be allowed to carry the DOCG classification, but Isole e Olena decided to leave the classification as IGT, claiming that it is about the quality of the wine, not its label.
Another fun fact: the name Cepparello comes from an old stream, Borro Cepparello, that originates in the highest point of the Isole e Olena estate.
About the Wine
The Cepparello wine aged for 18 months on new and old barriques of French and American oak, plus a year of bottle ripening before they are put on the market.
Every vintage of Cepparello from Isole e Olena is a masterpiece, and the 2020 release is no exception. A harmonious blend of Sangiovese grapes that captures the essence of the Tuscan terroir, this wine is a testament to the winery’s dedication to quality and tradition.
Now let us dive into the matter of this extraordinary wine. When you pour yourself a glass, the wine is slightly darker than what you are used to with your regular Chianti (Classico) wine, but it is still quite translucent. Lifting the glass to your nose, you are met with the unmistakable smell of red fruit and a kick of wood. There are hints of tobacco, vanilla, leather, smoke, sage, balsamic vinegar and maybe some violets.
At first taste the wine is surprisingly fresh and the flavors from barrel ripening are front and center. The tannins are luxurious and the aftertaste is long where the flavors continue to develop in the mouth. The body is full and elegant. The wine is already quite smooth despite the age, as this 2020 is still quite young. What sets the 2020 Cepparello apart is its remarkable aging potential. While it is undeniably enjoyable now, its solid structure and well-crafted components suggest it will reward those who cellar it for years to come. Whether enjoyed in its youthful exuberance or allowed to mature gracefully, this vintage is a true testament to the legacy of Isole e Olena.
We award this Isole e Olena Cepparello 2020 with a 96-point DWA score.
Tuscany, a Journey through Five Lenses
This review is part of our project “Tuscany, a Journey through Five Lenses”. In this project we travel through one of the most exciting parts of Italy and show its different faces interpreted through leading wineries. We do this through wine reviews, background articles and interviews.
The regions we discuss are Tuscany IGP, Chianti, Bolgheri, Montepulciano and Montalcino. Isole Olena is our guide through the Chianti and Chianti Classico appellation.
Other wines by Isole e Olena in this project:
This wine is reviewed by our own Liza Verbeek.
Taste date: August 2023
Score: 96/100 DWA Score
Website: Isole e Olena