#41 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2019
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 moreish on the finish.
97pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
96pts Wine Enthusiast
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.
95pts James Suckling
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.
93pts Wine Spectator
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.
The flagship wine consists of 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barrels. Over the years, Paolo has refined his Cepparello by giving it more air during vinification and increasing time spent in oak from 12-14 months to 18-20 months. Although De Marchi started focusing on the use of better quality oak around 1993, it is the increased age of the vineyards themselves that have given Cepparello its overall finesse. The wine is made from a top selection of the estate’s best fruits from the vineyards in Barberino Val d’Elsa in the northern part of Chianti Classico.