Paolo De Marchi’s excellent Chianti Classico is elegant and supple, full of perfumed fruit, with depth, structure and minerality.
Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
The name ‘Isole e Olena’ came about in the 1950s when two adjoining estates, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’, were purchased by the De Marchi family and combined to form one. The history of both estates dates back many hundreds of years, and the earliest documentation of the village of Olena goes as far back as the 12th century. During the 1950s, the De Marchi family planted specialised vineyards and expanded the cellars. Today, the estate is run by Paolo De Marchi and his wife Marta. Paolo comes from a family with three generations of winemaking experience in the northern part of Piemonte and his older son, Luca, now runs the family estate there, Proprietà Sperino.
The Isole e Olena estate covers 290 hectares, of which 49 are planted with vines and 45 with olives. The vineyards are approximately 400 metres above sea level and face south-west. The oldest vines on the estate were planted in 1958 and the youngest in 2007. Paolo was one of the first producers in Chianti Classico to plant high density vineyards with new lower yielding clones of Sangiovese in the 1980s. In many cases he returned to the poor soils on hillside sites that had been abandoned when quantity took precedent over quality. As a result of these changes, Paolo gets better grapes, and hence better wines.
80% Sangiovese , 15% Canaiolo, 5% Syrah/Shiraz. Fermentation took place in tank with 15 days of maceration, délestage (or ‘rack and return’) and pumping-over twice a day. De Marchi first experimented with the délestage method in 1996 and subsequently began using it for all red wines from the 1997 vintage. Maturation lasted one year and took place in barrel (of which 5% was new oak) and 4,000 litre oak casks.
This Chianti Classico is crimson in colour with typical sour cherry and bramble notes. The palate has a supple, lithe character full of perfumed fruit and is given depth by a mineral vein. Structure comes from the taut acidity and tannin structure.