In 1950, two adjacent estates existed in Barberino Val d’Elsa in Northern Chianti Classico;  Isole and Olena.   Midway between Firenze and Siena, the properties were purchased and merged by the De Marchi family and today, the “Isole e Olena” estate comprises approximately 290 hectares.  Of that 49 hectares are under vine and interestingly, only 42 are in production at the moment.  In speaking with proprietor Paolo De Marchi, the increased plantings could be used to increase or maintain the production of the estate Chianti Classico as fruit from older vineyards is destined for the estate’s new Gran Selezione.
I met Paolo di Marchi years ago.  He’s as humble as humble can be.  He is “a simple farmer” as he says with an almost dismissive wave of the hand.  Yet even if that were true,  the lovely fruits of his labor result in something that is not simple; but complex and harmonic.  

Today, we’re focusing on one of the most recent releases from Isole e Olena,  the 2012 Chianti Classico.

Sourced from vineyards at approximately 400 meters above sea level,  Isole’s Chianti Classico is a mostly traditional blend of 80% Sangiovese, 17% Canaiolo and 3% Syrah.   Fermented in stainless steel, the wine is then aged in a combination of barrique and large cask for 12 months and then 3-6 months bottle aging follows before release.  
The 2012 is classy.  It’s a medium ruby color with violet reflections throughout.  Aromas of cedar mulch, crushed berry, and fresh tobacco are pleasing and plentiful.  On the palate, the wine is fruit forward with wild berry flavors that are accented nicely by tobacco, and soft earth notes.  There’s a touch of smoke and fennel toward the finish.  Moderate acidity keeps the wine lively and fresh and there is little tannic structure to be concerned with.  Delicious now, it will easily drink well over the next 3-5 years.  89 points.  My only complaint?  At the current retail, there are several other wines just as nice and some better for less money.   About $25.

~  Isole e Olena:  80% Sangiovese – 17% Canaiolo – 3% Syrah ~


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