~ Paolo di Marchi – The Master of Sangiovese ~

There’s gorgeous and then there’s drop dead gorgeous.  The gap between the two may not be imagined as a very large chasm, and although that might be true,  it takes a leap many more times gargantuan than required to hurdle the distance.
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. 
The apex of that artistry is DiMarchi’s super Tuscan Cepparello.  Named after a stream the bisects DiMarchi’s estate, Cepparello is officially a 100% Sangiovese wine.  Little birdies have consistently told me over the years that somehow, someway,  5-10% Syrah finds it’s way into the blend of this wine.   Mind you, I’ve no official confirmation of this, but inspecting this wine’s color would seem to corroborate the notion. 

~ Carved into Stone – Cantina di Isole e Olena ~

The 1999 Isole e Olena Cepparello  is indeed a masterful expression of Tuscan Sangiovese.  It has everything you could want and dare I say, that little bit more.  After decanting a notable sediment,  the wine sang aromatically.  Flowers, fresh sage, crushed ripe wild cherries, sweet pipe tobacco, fresh earth, coffee and leather simply erupt from the glass. A virtual sympony of aromas.  They are seamless, but identifiable enough as though they were disjointed. 
As if not wanting to play second fiddle,  the flavors of the wine are equally impressive.  A ripe, full bodied core of wild cherry fruit is opulent and nimble and accented with fennel, Tuscan brush,  fresh herbs, and a spicy, smokey, tobacco tinged finish.  The balance is nearly perfect between acids and tannins – the majority of which have resolved nicely and the residual, silky and velvety.  The flavors glide over the palate and beg for further attention.  Is that a lingering smoke note? 
It’s hard to find fault here.  I find myself saying that each time I enjoy one of Paolo’s wines and although this is a CellarNote, it’s very, very relevant.  It is very easy to find Cepparello at retail right now and many different vintages are available from 2007-2010.   Buy without fear and if you can, buy enough to save one for 10-15 years.  It will reward tenfold.  97 points.  About $45 on release.  Current vintages average $52-$65.  

~ What color in a 15 year old wine ~

Salute e grazie Paolo!   Yes indeed, drop dead gorgeous.

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