There are many Super Tuscans, wines that are often a combination of Tuscany's star grape, Sangiovese, and the international jetset from Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Cabernet Franc) or even Syrah. The most famous Super Tuscans (Sassicaia, Ornellaia, Masseto) in fact contain no Sangiovese at all. Cepparello on the other hand is 100% Sangiovese and has been ever since its creation in 1980, when it broke the rules for Chianti classification and thus became an IGT status wine. Of all the Super Tuscans Cepparello is the most Burgundian in nature, capturing perfume, elegance and a wonderful red-fruited aroma profile. It ages supremely well and hits its stride at 8-15+ years of age, and shows remarkable vintage-to-vintage consistency.
Cepparello is a single estate wine, sourced from Isole e Olena's best vineyard sites. Based in the western-most hills of the Chianti Classico region (halfway between Florence to the north and Siena to the south), the estate has 45 ha of vines planted in the illustrious galestro soil (clay and limestone) at 350-450m asl. This area of the Classico is exposed to sea breezes from the west, thus its cooler than other areas of Chianti leading to the signature elegant style.
The name 'Isole e Olena' came about in the 1950s when two adjoining estates, 'Isole' and 'Olena', were purchased by the De Marchi family and combined to form one. The history of both estates dates back many hundreds of years, and the earliest documentation of the village of Olena goes as far back as the 12th century. During the 1950s, the De Marchi family planted specialised vineyards and expanded the cellars. Today, the estate is run by Paolo De Marchi and his wife Marta. Paolo comes from a family with three generations of winemaking experience in the northern part of Piemonte and his older son, Luca, now runs the family estate there, Proprietà Sperino.
The 2019 Cepparello is super-impressive, even though it has just been bottled. Ample and creamy, with its classic sense of mid-weight structure, the 2019 has so much to offer. Silky tannins wrap around a core of red/purplish berry fruit. New leather, spice and a hint of oak meld together effortlessly in the glass. I can't wait to check in on it in another 6-12 months or so. The 2019 is shaping up to be positively stellar. 96 points, Antonio Galloni.