A Pioneer in Chianti Classico
Founded in 1956 by Francesco De Marchi, this historic Chianti Classico estate is located in the western part of the denomination, near Castellina in Chianti, in the commune of Barberina Val d’Elsa. Isole e Olena’s 56 hectares (138 acres) of vineyards sit at 350-450 meters (1,148 – 1,476 feet) above sea level on soils of galestro and marly schist.
In 1975, Francesco’s son, Paolo De Marchi, ushered in a new era at Isole e Olena by taking over the estate. With his background in agricultural studies, Paolo started to revolutionize the winery beginning in the vineyards. He began experiments with the clear goal of enhancing the quality of the region, improving the performance of the local grape varieties (mainly Sangiovese) through massal selection, and mapping his galestro-driven soils. Thanks to the philosophy of Paolo De Marchi, Isole e Olena is considered among the pioneer estates who led the quality renaissance of Chianti Classico starting in the 1970s and becoming a reference for the area.
1980 saw the first bottling of Cepparello, a Sangiovese from old vines, aged in barrique, which in time has become an emblem of Isole e Olena. First classified as “vino da tavola” (table wine) it went on to become one of the first Supertuscan wines, showing the character and longevity of Sangiovese from this high-altitude corner of Chianti Classico. Cepparello is the result of Paolo’s extensive study of the Sangiovese grape and his belief in the potential of its expression.
Today Isole e Olena is recognized for the leading role it played in the emergence of the Chianti Classico region and respected for its authentic style of Chianti Classico – fragrant and well-balanced with purity of fruit – which is representative of its high-altitude territory. In addition to Chianti Classico and Cepparello, Isole e Olena also produces a series of single varietal wines: Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as an acclaimed Vin Santo.