Isole e Olena is one of the leading estates of Tuscany, with the signature Sangiovese variety reaching top levels of quality in the icon Cepparello and other international varieties showing a similar path of success. Paolo de Marchi, the owner of the estate created after the merger of the Isole and Olena Estate back in the 50's, is a charismatic figure who managed to give his wines the stigma of the terroir, producing wines clearly reminiscent of the place from which they originate.
Next to the iconic 100% Sangiovese, classic Super-Tuscan Cepparello which has already won numerous "Tre Bichierri" in the Italian Gambero Rosso and Chianti Classico which is the modern reflection of the region, the Collezione Privata series offer single-varietal wines from international varieties planted on the estate.
Further to John Siganos, the Greek importer of Isole E Olena, strong recommendation, we tasted all the wines of the estate and decided not to miss the chance to share our impressions with you:
Collezione Privata Chardonnay 2012-13.5%
Maybe its style is not the latest trend in fashion in terms of Chardonnay, as oak barrel has a quite heavy presence, but, well, since when classic is not good? Here the oak pertains, giving a smoky character on the nose, with the fruit complimenting beautifully the complex aromatic structure. The mouth is magnificent, sufficiently thick and buttery but with a balancing acidity and freshness. The aftertaste is long, complicated and nutty. A purely classical Chardonnay! Fermentation is taking place in 1/3 new oak-sur lie for 10 months. (90/100)
Chianti Classico 2011-14.5%
The attractive fruit of Sangiovese, combined with botanical and animal notes is complemented with beautiful spices on the nose. The palate is elegant with a well defined fruit core. Up to this point all goes well, though somewhere in the middle-palate the wine looses its intensity leaving us with mixed emotions at an otherwise pleasant finish. Yes, but… 15 days of extraction and maturation for 12 months in 5% new oak. (88/100)
Collezione Privata Syrah 2007-14.5%
Too heavy character with intense toasty aromas and sense of over-ripeness on the nose. Chocolaty, peppery and also gamey with burning alcohol. Did not persuade us because despite its complexity and concentration it has not yet managed to find a balance on the palate. 12 months in 20% new French and American oak. (87/100)
Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon 2010-14.5%
Despite that the Syrah of the Estate stayed in the shadows, Cabernet had its revenge on behalf of the international red varieties. Wonderful hints of blackcurrants, light vegetality reminiscent of mint and eucalyptus and a rich and robust palate with ripe, powerful tannins and intensity that gives a great promise to further evolve in the years to come. Extraction 28 days at temperatures above 30° C and matured for 24 months in 50% new oak (80% French and 20% American). (92/100)
Super-Tuscan with the balance inclining rather towards the Tuscan than to the Super, in other words without over–extraction and excessive oak. Here, Sangiovese that was first cultivated in 1958 demonstrates its tremendous prospective. Cherries a la Sangiovese together with spices, a very high quality oak management and wonderful balance on the palate full of elegance and a wine that clearly expresses its terroir. The Tre Bicchieri of the infamous Gambero Rosso for the flagship wine of Isole e Olena is not just the exception but an almost every year standard. 28 days extraction at 30-32 ° C and matured for 18 months in 1/3 new oak. (93/100)
Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2005-13%
High in complexity, with a nose that you can describe it for hours both in terms of aromas and in terms of its evolution in the glass. Rancio character and hints of deliberate oxidation, a bouquet full of toffee, citrus peel, honey, dried fruits and exotic spices like curry. On the palate is equally delicious, rich with a generous dose of sweetness (220g), but without losing the necessary acidity, so as not to be overwhelmed by sweetness and to feel a hint of freshness; an incentive to go ahead with the next sip…(95/100)