The Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is comprised of individual clusters of Malvasia and Trebbiano, manually harvested early in order to retain acidity, then dried on bamboo mats for five months. The grapes are then pressed, and the thick must is placed in used chestnut and oak barrels of varying sizes, called caratelli. Fermentation is initiated with a dose of the madre Vin Santo, and the barrels are sealed with wax and left unopened for six years. When the wine is bottled, less than 15% of the wine remains in the barrels. The balance, called the angeli condividono, or “the angels’ share,” having evaporated through the pores in the old wood. In the glass, the wine has a deep amber color, with flashes of burnished copper just at the edge. Penetrating aromas of candied mixed citrus zest, crystallized honey, and dried Adriatic figs, along with dark caramel, sottobosco, pine needles, and exotic spices move in and out of the foreground as the nose blossoms in the glass. On the palate, this beautiful Vin Santo is powerful, sweet and luscious, at the same time perfectly harmonious and elegant, with a thick sweet core of caramelized stone fruit, candied citrus flavors, sweet muscat raisins, and honeyed marzipan, all seasoned with exotic baking spices, palpable galestro minerality, and exuberant, refreshing acidity that makes the lingering sweet finish endlessly fascinating.
About this wine producer: In the 1970’s, Paolo De Marchi came to the Isole e Olena estate, which his family had previously purchased in the Chianti Classico region of Italy. Since this time, Paolo has extensively replanted the approximately 50 hectares (125 acres) of vineyards, based on his experimentation regarding planting density, soil composition, and clonal selection. A key aspect of Paolo’s success is his desire to incorporate scientific research with the traditions of the region. This allows him to produce high quality grapes and wines that express the true character of Tuscany. Today, Paolo De Marchi is known worldwide for his Chianti Classico wines and his iconic Cepparello, made from 100% Sangiovese. He also produces exceptional wines from his plantings of “international” varieties. As with his Sangiovese-based wines, Paolo’s Isole e Olena Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay varietal wines demonstrate both the characteristics of the grapes, as well as the influence of the Tuscan terroir.