Isole e Olena
Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Paolo De Marchi’s vineyards, like those of Giovanni Manetti at Fontodi, are superbly tended. This, more than anything, yields wines of the quality that have kept them both ahead of the chasing pack for the past three decades.
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, with the earliest documentation of the village of Olena in the 12th century.
Isole e Olena is situated in the western part of Chianti Classico, just north of the village of Castellina. Its 45 hectares of vineyard are situated between 350 – 450 metres above sea level, planted primarily on galestro soil. Because the western flank of Chianti is open to breezes from the sea, this is a much cooler part of the zone, resulting in wines that are lighter but more scented and elegant than many others.
‘Cepparello’, Paolo’s flagship wine, made solely from Sangiovese, is fragrant with great elegance and balance. His Chianti, a blend of 80% Sangiovese supplemented by Canaiolo and a dash of Syrah, is scented and alluring.
His barrel-fermented Chardonnay is outstanding, one of Italy’s best examples of this variety boasting rich aromas of toasted almonds and butter. Paolo’s Vin Santo, aged for eight years in small barrels called ‘caratelli’, is one of the best produced.