Isole e Elena | 538 Wine Notes
Chianti Classico DOCG 2014
Wine is deeply embedded in Tuscany’s cultural heritage. Legislation delimiting the Chianti zone dates to 1716. The first DOC and DOCG zones to be authorized in Italy were Tuscan. Wine and commercial agriculture are big business in Tuscany, and the hills are a patchwork of olive tree groves, vineyards, and wheat fields—a natural evolution of the agriculture that ancient Romans practiced.
In the past, Chianti was synonymous with Italian wine—and a reminder, not unfairly, of its troubled quality. Historically bottled in a fiasco due to the inferior quality of Italian glass, the squat, straw-covered Chianti bottles came to epitomize the rustic, cheap nature of Italian wine in the late 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. Tuscany’s winemakers have responded with a surge in quality over the last quarter century, slashing vineyard yields, replanting superior clones of Sangiovese, and improving vineyard and winery equipment and practices. Nonetheless, today Tuscany stands at the forefront of both quality winemaking in Italy.
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 property. The history of both estates dates back many hundreds of years, with the earliest documentation of the village of Olena in the 12th century. Isole e Olena lays claim to some of the most prized vineyards in the region and have created some of the region’s top wines. The estate plants 50 hectares of vines, reaching altitudes of nearly 400 meters above sea level, receiving an average of 35 inches of rainfall, annually. The soils consist of a mix of limestone, clay slate and limestone, locally named ‘Galestro’, which allows for sufficient drainage in times of heavy rain and retain moisture during droughts. For the past 25 years, the estate has experienced an extensive replanting project including research on clonal selection, density of planting, soil mapping and vineyard management techniques.
The Chianti Classico blend, itself, contains 80%Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo, and 5% Syrah, estate-grown, hand-harvested grapes that are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks with approximately 15 days maceration. During fermentation, racking and pumping-over takes place twice a day. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked into barrels and 4,000 liter casks where it matures for about one year.
The Isole e Elena Chianti Classico 2014 has a deep ruby colour with aromas of cherries, raspberries, and red plums, roses, dried herbs, and anise spice. This Chianti shows great balance and drinkability with a lively acidity to pair with wide range of foods, including tomato dishes, pork dishes, roasted eggplant and olive oil, pizza, beef ragu, Italian charcuterie, and hard cheeses.