Isole e Olena

About the Producer: 
The renaissance in Tuscan wine gained momentum when money, talent and ideas flowed into the region from the outside. The ranks of itinerant winemakers, wine specialists and investors continue to grow, thought perhaps no outsider has contributed more to the spirit of the revival than Paolo De Marchi from Piedmont, who has made Isole e Olena a landmark of modern Chianti Classico. Paolo’s father, a lawyer with a wine estate at Lessona in Piedmont, bought the adjacent Isole e Olena farms in 1952 and put the properties together. At first, the wine was sold in bulk to merchant houses, but in 1976 Paolo took over after earning a doctorate in enology and Isole e Olena has been on the rise ever since. Paolo has always put prime emphasis on his vineyards, planting and grafting with select clones of Sangiovese fro Chianto Classico. His faith in Sangiovese is summed up in Cepparello, the Super-Tuscan created in 1980 and named after a stream that runs though the property. Paolo also works successfully with Cabernet Sauvingnon, Chardonnay and Syrah from wines that have come under the Collezione De Marchi label. Visitors to Isole e Olena have sometime been surprised to learn that wines of such style could issue from the hodgepodge of makeshift spaces the Paolo calls his cellars. For years he assured doubters that the new cantina was imminent and, at last, his dream has materialized. Paolo is convinced that the spacious new quarters will enable him to perform more efficiently and make his wines even better. That may be true, though Cepparello has long been ranked at the summit of pure Sangiovese, and the Collezione De Marchi Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay merit similar esteem. Paolo, who might be described as a youth approaching 50, keeps trim by manicuring his 45 hectares of vines, which produce about 200,000 bottles a year of wines that also include a revered Vine Santo.