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The 2003 Cepparello is stunningly beautiful. Layers of dark red fruit, flowers, licorice and mint wrap around the palate in this dramatic, large-scaled Cepparello. The warmth of the vintage comes through just in the wine’s volume, otherwise this is a very classic Cepparello that never strays far from its roots. Impossibly fine, silky tannins wrap around the finish. There is a Pommard-like overtness that is quite attractive. Overall, though, this is a wine that handled the heat of the year with extraordinary grace. It remains one of the finest 2003s from Tuscany, as well as a poignant reminder that top growers often find a way to make wines that exceed expectations in smaller or more difficult years. The 2003 is one of the most pleasant surprises of this vertical. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022. 94 Points; Antonio Galloni; Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

Isole e Olena is comprised of two farms, "Isole" and "Olena," purchased by the De Marchi family in the 1950s. The current manager, Paolo De Marchi (see photo), is the fourth generation of the De Marchi to make wine in Italy (the extended family also makes wine in Piedmonte). Paolo graduated from the University of Torino where he specialized in Oenology, and currently maintains relationships with the Oenology faculties of the Universities of Montpellier, Beaune, Torino, Geisenheim and UC Davis. He is among the most respected winemakers in the world. His early enthusiasm for "extra-Tuscan" grapes in Chianti has been tempered by his respect for the unique characteristics of Tuscany's indigenous Sangiovese. This is a demanding grape, difficult to ripen and requiring extraordinary work in the vineyards to insure high quality. Paolo still produces small amounts of wines from "international varieties," including Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay, but his Chianti Classico and Cepparello (100% Sangiovese), are his own, best contribution to Tuscan culture.

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