Isole e Olena was formed in the 1950’s when the DeMarchi family purchased two vineyards in the heart of the Chianti Classico region and combined them into one. Since the 1970’s, Paolo DeMarchi has become a leading winemaker in the region by experimenting to improve the Chianti blends and by making wines from 100% Sangiovese (which he labels Cepparello). The goal is producing complex wines with good aging potential.
In a very hot 2017 vintage in Tuscany, it seems like no winery did better than Isole e Olena’s small but immaculately run operation. Paolo De Marchi is meticulous about wine, approaching it from a scientific point-of-view and trying to do as much research and experimentation as possible. Their flagship Cepparello racked up huge scores from all the big named critics, but don’t sleep on their Private selection Syrah. It’s an enormous, full-bodied beauty that is as big and expressive as anything you’re going to find in any region. It’s still in its infancy in terms of where it’s heading, but it’s a wine you’re going to want to have a few bottles to visit down the road. The problem is about 350 cases are made of this wine total, and only about 100 of those head to the U.S. With the 96/94 point scores from the two biggest critics and the reputation of producing some of Italy’s best wines, I was only able to get 60 bottles and that’s the only bite of the apple. Everybody who gets this one will be very happy.
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96 Points- Antonio Galloni, Vinous
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.
94 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
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.
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