Isole e Olena Description
Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, between the historic cities of Siena and Florence, lies the esteemed Isole e Olena estate. This iconic winery, which opened its doors in 1952, has become a beacon of innovation and tradition in the Chianti Classico region. The name Isole e Olena was born from the union of two adjoining estates, Isole and Olena, each with a storied past that dates back several centuries. This merger under the visionary guidance of the De Marchi family set the stage for a renaissance in Tuscan winemaking, led by fourth-generation winemaker Paolo De Marchi.
Paolo, who brought with him a wealth of knowledge from his studies in Agriculture at the University of Turin, as well as practical experience from harvests in California and France, discovered the estate in need of modernization upon his arrival in 1976. With a deep respect for the land and a forward-thinking mindset, Paolo embarked on a journey to refine the winemaking process at Isole e Olena, blending the rich winemaking heritage of Chianti Classico with contemporary practices.
The vineyards of Isole e Olena are strategically perched on the rolling hillsides north of Castellina in Chianti Classico, covering 50 hectares at an elevation of approximately 400 meters above sea level. This prime location benefits from an average annual rainfall of 35 inches, creating an ideal microclimate for vine growth. The soil composition is a diverse mix of limestone, clay slate, and sandstone, offering excellent drainage for heavy rains and moisture retention during dry periods. Over the past 25 years, Paolo has led an ambitious replanting project focused on clonal selection, planting density, soil mapping, and vineyard management techniques, all aimed at optimizing the quality of the grapes.
Sustainable farming practices are at the core of Isole e Olena’s philosophy, reflecting Paolo’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the production of wines that truly represent the terroir of Chianti. This hands-off approach to winemaking ensures that each bottle of Isole e Olena wine is a genuine expression of the land from which it originates, characterized by a harmonious balance of freshness, intensity, depth, and longevity.
The estate’s flagship wine, Cepparello, a 100% Sangiovese, epitomizes Paolo’s innovative spirit. Introduced in 1980, Cepparello broke away from traditional Chianti Classico regulations by eschewing the inclusion of white grape varieties, thus earning its status as a “Super Tuscan.” This bold move not only set a new standard for Sangiovese wines but also ignited the pure Sangiovese movement within the region.
Isole e Olena’s portfolio extends beyond Cepparello, featuring a collection of wines that showcase the diversity and excellence of Tuscan viticulture. Among these are the ‘Collezione Privata’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Syrah, each a testament to Paolo’s prowess in cultivating international varieties in Tuscany’s soil. The ‘Gran Selezione’ Chianti Classico DOCG and the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG highlight the quintessential flavors of the region, while the Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC offers a taste of Tuscany’s traditional dessert wine.
Located at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, Isole e Olena stands as a testament to the vision and passion of Paolo De Marchi and his family. Through sustainable farming, meticulous vineyard management, and a dedication to expressing the typicity of Chianti, Isole e Olena continues to craft wines that are not only reflective of their heritage but are also leading the way forward in the evolution of Italian winemaking.