According to official records, the village of Olena was a real Tuscan farm, halfway between Florence and Siena, self-sufficient already in the 12th century, while the neighboring and coeval village of Isole became a real farm only in 1700 by the Elmi family. In the 1950s a certain Francesco De Marchi, descendant of a Piedmontese family in the Lessona area, who has been producing Piedmontese wines for three generations, moved to Tuscany and bought the two farms, giving rise to the Isole e Olena winery. Clearly, the vocation to wine production also affected Francesco’s son, Paolo De Marchi, who became interested in it after his studies at the agronomy school and his experiences in California in the early ’70s.
When, in 1976, Paolo took over the company, his business developed along two lines: an intense study of Sangiovese vinified in purity and the development of grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay, which he had learned to love in California. It is therefore not surprising that the company can boast at the same time the production of one of the most important pure Tuscan Sangiovese (the Flaccianello) and one of the most famous Chianti Cabernet Sauvignon (the Collezione Privata previously known as Collezione De Marchi).
This last wine is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small balance of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, grown on a soil of galestro and clay limestone. After a delicate manual harvest in the second half of October and a selection, always manual, of the grapes, take place the two fermentations (alcoholic and malolactic) and the maceration of a month, with frequent pumping over, partly in steel and partly in oak vats. The wine then matures two years in barriques, for 40% of new French wood (and a 3% American), and another three years in bottle, before marketing.
The 2016 vintage has an intense ruby color, almost impenetrable, with an olfactory range that opens on notes of black cherry, cooked plum, pot pourri and vinyl, followed by vanilla, tomato concentrate, black olive and dark tobacco, with final echoes of goudron, graphite and incense. The palate, still very young, is characterized by a play of references between softness and balsamic freshness, with elegant tannins and a good sensation of spiciness from black pepper; all enriched by the return of overripe red fruit and spices that accompany the sip until an endless closing.
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