I’ve written many times before that Paolo DiMarchi is but a humble gentleman and a maestro of Sangiovese.  The depths of his knowledge seem limitless when you speak to him.  He pays attention to the weather with a keen eye;  which way is the wind blowing, how hot is it, how is the soil in the vineyard reacting to it’s outside influences.  All of this plays a part in crafting amazing wines and directing his decisions. 

As I wrote just yesterday, in part 1 of this mini-feature on Isole’s current releases, some of the oldest vines on the estate bear the fruit that produces today’s subject wine. Cepparello is 100% Sangiovese that is hand selected from the best vineyard plots on his estate.  The first vintage of the wine was 1980, though the planning and concept had its roots in the early 1970’s when many winemakers believed that in order for Sangiovese to be great, it needed to be blended with Bordeaux varieties.  This puzzled Di Marchi and he set about crafting a benchmark Sangiovese.  

The last time I spoke to Paolo we were discussing the origins of Cepparello and he remarked to be “the problem then wasn’t with Sangiovese- it was with us, the winemakers. We weren’t aware of its greatness then. We didn’t know how to properly farm it in order for it to be great.”    That is all in the past. 

The 2011 Cepparello is subjected to severe hand selection and then fermented in open topped oak vats.  Aging takes place in a combination of new and used French barrique and a small portion of American oak.  
We did not decant the wine, but opened and left it to rest about 45 minutes before dinner. In the glass, it’s a deep, dark ruby color with slight violet reflections.  The aromas on the nose are rich and ripe. Wild cherry,  forest notes, cherry liquer and sweet pipe tobacco are all present.   Flavors follow the aromas and the wine continues it’s display of richness and ripeness.  There is a large core of ripe fruit that needs to mellow and shed some baby fat with some cellar time.  The acidic structure is refreshing on the palate but the tannins are silky and unobtrusive.  Fruit driven right now, this will gain some complexity as it ages. Lovers of new world wine will really like this now – I prefer to cellar this for 5 years before trying another.   94 points.  About $60.

~ Cepparello is 100% Sangiovese ~


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