Isole e Olena

A CREAM IMPORT SELECTION
Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Barberino Val d'Elsa, Chianti Classico
People: Paolo De Marchi, Owner & Winemaker

Items

Isole e Olena 2018 Chardonnay, Toscana IGT Login AG 93 WA 95 In Stock
Isole e Olena 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT Login WS 90 AG 96 WA 92 In Stock
Isole e Olena 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT Login AG 94 On Order
Isole e Olena 2017 'Cepparello' (Sangiovese), Toscana IGT Login AG 97 WA 95+ On Order
Isole e Olena (1.5 L) 2016 Chianti Classico DOCG Login In Stock
Isole e Olena 2017 Chianti Classico DOCG Login AG 91 In Stock
Isole e Olena 2017 Syrah, Toscana IGT Login AG 96 WA 94 On Order
Isole e Olena (375 ml) 2008 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC Login AG 96 WS 95 In Stock



Media Links
Wine Spectator: A Moving Target with Tuscan Legend Paolo De Marchi
About.com: Italian Food
Jancis Robinson: Paolo de Marchi on Esca
Polish Wine Guide: Isole e Olena - lightness, juiciness, naturalness

The incredibly talented, humble, and kind Paolo De Marchi is at the helm of Isole e Olena, and has been since 1976 after taking over from his parents who purchased the property in the 1950s. From the beginning, Paolo has done groundbreaking work to understand and propel the image of Sangiovese. Until very recently, Sangiovese was thought to fare poorly by itself, and the Chianti Classico appellation demanded that it be blended with other grapes (including white) to earn the DOCG. Paolo differed from this opinion. He studied his Sangiovese vines, convinced he could produce a wine that would rival international single-varietal wines. Radically, Paolo produced his first 100% Sangiovese Cepparello in 1980 (according to history he was the second person to do this after Montevertine); this wine was an immediate success and set the standard for the pure Sangiovese movement in Tuscany. Cepparello put Paolo and his estate on the map. 40 years later, the revered Paolo is producing some of his best wines yet!

Isole e Olena is comprised of two adjoining estates in the Barberino Val d’Elsa subregion of Chianti Classico. The land totals 290 hectares of which 53 hectares are planted to vines, which include traditional Tuscan varieties as well as international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay. 70% of the estate’s production is traditional Chianti Classico and Vin Santo. The location is on the cooler, western side of Chianti Classico at about 1,310 feet. The wines maintain freshness even in the hottest years because of the sea breezes and steep diurnal shift.

Vinous 9/2020
" If there is one winery that merits special recognition this year it is without question Isole e Olena. Paolo De Marchi presented a dazzling set of wines, starting with the 2017 Chianti Classico, a terrific example of the how the warm growing season added an extra element of dimension to some wines. Cepparello is so distinguished. What else is new? Today, readers don’t care much about international varieties in Italy. I will freely admit it – I am not a huge fan. But De Marchi has a rare talent in coaxing so much personality from his Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, all of which are fabulous. I don’t think there is another winemaker in Italy who can match his skill across that many different varieties. And then there is the Vin Santo, which is everything Vin Santo can and should be. Don’t miss these wines."


Vinous 8/2019
"Paolo De Marchi describes 2016 as a cool year with a lot of sunshine and well-timed rains, conditions that resulted in slow ripening of the grapes and a late, relaxed harvest that started at the end of September and wrapped up during the second half of October. As for the wines, they are simply off the charts. I don't know if there is much more I can say than that."


Vinous 2/2019
"Always outspoken, Paolo De Marchi is not shy when it comes to expressing his views. For that reason, he is not really part of the 'in crowd' of owners in Chianti Classico's highly political ecosystem. But he doesn't need to be, the wines speak for themselves. These wines are simply extraordinary. The only wines that fall a bit short are the 2015s, but rain during harvest is not exactly easy to work around. De Marchi's Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is one of just a few wines that truly express what the top of the qualitative hierarchy is, while his wines from international varieties, now out of favor, remain compelling. The flagship remains the 100% Sangiovese Cepparello, which in its best vintages, is capable of developing beautifully in bottle for 25+ years."


Vinous 1/2018
"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. There are plenty of other noteworthy wines in this collection, including the terrific 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata. These wines show why De Marchi and Isole e Olena occupy a spot among the world's elite wine estates."


Vinous 9/2015
"Paolo De Marchi remains one of the most forward-thinking producers in Italy. His 100% Sangiovese Cepparello was a ground -breaking wine in the 1980s, when Sangiovese was four-letter word and international varieties were all the rage. Now the Gran Selezione is hot and there has never been more focus on pure Sangiovese in Chianti Classico. So what does De Marchi do? Simply make one of the greatest Tuscan wines ever with his 2010 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, which is, ironically, a blend of Sangiovese and Bordeaux varieties. So, now the top wine at Isole e Olena - an estate that has championed Sangiovese for three-plus decades (far before it was fashionable to do so) - is now a blend. In 2011, De Marchi added a dollop of Trebbiano to freshen up his Cepparello. What's old is new again? At the end of the day, none of that really matters. 'I want to make the best wine I can. Period,' says De Marchi in his typical self-deprecating style. Make no mistake about it, these are some of the greatest wines being made anywhere in the world. Chapeau."

Reviews

  • Isole e Olena 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 90 (10/31/2018)

    Wild herb, eucalyptus, black currant, cherry, tobacco and spice flavors are all in the running here, buoyed by a dense matrix of tannins. Stays fresh through the long aftertaste, with lingering notes of wild thyme and rosemary. Drink now through 2023
  • Isole e Olena 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 96 (2/22/2019)

    A regal wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Isole e Olena soars out of the glass with tremendous aromatic and palate intensity. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2014 has so much to offer. Once again, De Marchi crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon that exudes character. Today, the 2014 is vivid but also intensely saline and clenched. Another few years in bottle should do the trick. This fruit was brought in during the last week of October and first week of November, quite late, even by the standards of the year.
  • Isole e Olena 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (10/31/2018)

    Showing slightly green or medicinal aromas of garden herb, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata (with tiny additions of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot) is a product of a cooler vintage. The wine offers very nice aromatic intensity with a bouquet that is sharp, pointed and still a bit nervous in character. However, I have often commented on that nervous energy in the past. Rather than being spurred on by the vintage, it is an expected characteristic of this wine. Grapes come from an area of Chianti Classico that sees steep diurnal shifts between day and nighttime temperatures. One thing that can be specifically attributed to the vintage, however, is the mouthfeel, which tastes compact and streamlined in 2014.
  • Isole e Olena (375 ml) 2008 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC
    Vinous
    Rating: 96 (8/22/2019)

    The 2008 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is fabulous. Rich, deep and exotically beautiful, the 2008 has so much to offer. Ten years in small casks yielded a Vin Santo loaded with personality, complexity and character. Orange confit, burnt sugar, dried herbs, spice and caramel are some of the many notes that lift out of the glass. A touch of Petit Manseng (unusual in Vin Santo) helps brighten the acids. If I had to pick only one bottle to demonstrate what Vin Santo is all about, it might very well be Isole e Olena's 2008, as it is a real reference-point of both excellence and pedigree.
  • Isole e Olena (375 ml) 2008 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 95 (10/31/2019)

    Thickly textured and bursting with honey, hazelnut torte, butter and nutty flavors, this is saturated and searing from vivid acidity. Everything is harmonious, and this lingers for what seems like a minute on the finish. Difficult to stop sipping. Drink now through 2033.
  • Isole e Olena 2017 Chianti Classico DOCG
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (9/18/2020)

    The 2017 Chianti Classico is fabulous. Bright, punchy and so full of character, the 2017 is absolutely delicious. Sweet berry, cedar, tobacco, rose petal and subtle earthy notes all grace the 2017, an exquisite wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. More than anything, I am so impressed with the wine's energy.
  • Isole e Olena 2018 Chardonnay, Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (9/18/2020)

    The 2018 Chardonnay is so gorgeous. Lemon confit, white flowers, tangerine and apricot all grace this soft, beautifully polished Chardonnay from Isole e Olena. The 2018 is perfumed, gracious and incredibly expressive. It is also without question the finest Chardonnay made in Tuscany.
  • Isole e Olena 2017 'Cepparello' (Sangiovese), Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 97 (9/18/2020)

    The 2017 Cepparello is another in a series of stunningly beautiful Cepparellos from Paolo de Marchi. Bright and beautifully focused in the glass, with tremendous depth, the 2017 is positively stellar from the very first taste. Succulent dark cherry, plum, licorice, spice, menthol and coffee all open up with a bit of air. Here, too, Paolo De Marchi has done a tremendous job in preserving freshness in the wine. Readers who can muster the patience will be rewarded with a spectacular wine.
  • Isole e Olena 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 94 (8/10/2019)

    The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of elegance and finesse that shows the effects of rain during harvest in its decidedly mid-weight, lithe construction. Even so, the 2015 offers lovely aromatic presence and persistence. Grilled herbs, crème de cassis, licorice, violet, plum, spice and licorice all develop, but the 2015 remains decidedly delicate for this bottling. My impression is that it will age more on its freshness rather than on its concentration.
  • Isole e Olena 2017 Syrah, Toscana IGT
    Vinous
    Rating: 96 (9/18/2020)

    Isole e Olena 2017 Syrah is powerful, dense and savory. Readers should not plan on opening a bottle anytime soon. Black cherry, plum, licorice, espresso, chocolate and leather build as this brooding Tuscan Syrah shows off its considerable character. The 2017 is a real powerhouse. Give it a few years in bottle.
  • Isole e Olena 2018 Chardonnay, Toscana IGT
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95 (9/30/2020)

    The Isole e Olena 2018 Chardonnay Collezione Privata is a finely chiseled and precise expression. The wine benefits from cooler pre-harvest nighttime temperatures that have pushed aromas of apricot, waxy orchard fruit and sweet pear. The is a full-bodied white that remains remarkably light on its feet and lithe in character. This vintage achieves truly remarkable balance, and I don't say that lightly. Luscious primary fruit and toast are measured against the wine's racy acidity and its chalky finish. This is one of the best Chardonnays to be found in Tuscany.
  • Isole e Olena 2017 'Cepparello' (Sangiovese), Toscana IGT
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95+ (9/30/2020)

    The Isole e Olena 2017 Cepparello is one of the great Sangiovese-based wines of the vintage. From a growing season that was challenging for almost everyone in Italy, this wine sails through, pushed by a profound sense of varietal purity. This dark, mid-weight red reveals lifted tones of cherry, wild rose, rosemary essence, toasted almond and potting soil. These components come together with seamless transitions and a polished finish. The tannins are elegant and integrated. The wine defies the expectations of the vintage.
  • Isole e Olena 2017 Syrah, Toscana IGT
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (9/30/2020)

    Here's a hot vintage Syrah from the heart of Tuscany. The Isole e Olena 2017 Syrah Collezione Privata opens to dark fruit aromas with toasted spice and charred earth. The wine hints at the heat and dryness of the vintages, but instead of jammy aromas (because there are none of those here), it produces seared or scorched aromas. Indeed, there is a defined note of barbecue smoked or burnt meat that lingers through to the end. The wine is rather tempered and measured in the mouth, with linearity and fine tannic contours. A mere 4,480 bottles were made.