Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC 2008, 375ml, Italy

The name ‘Isole e Olena’ was conceived in the 1950’s when two adjoining estates, ‘Isole’ and ‘Olena’ were purchased by the De Marchi family and were combined to form one. Today the Isole e Olena estate is run by Paolo De Marchi and his family. 65% Malvasia Bianca, 35% Trebbiano. Individual bunches of grapes are hand selected prior to the general harvest. Each bunch must be loosely formed and be of excellent quality in order to avoid the formation of mold during the long drying process. The bunches are hung to dry either on wooden poles or reed trays locally known as ‘cannicci’. They are stored in a dry, well ventilated spot until the sugar level of the grapes reaches a minimum of 35°Brix. This generally occurs in January at which time the dried grapes are pressed. The must, which is almost as thick as honey, is placed in oak and chestnut barrels of varying size. The barrels are filled 3/4 full and are then sealed with wax. A small deposit of Vin Santo, affectionately called ‘mother’, which remains from previous vintages triggers the beginning of fermentation. The barrels are left unopened for 6 years preferably in attic rooms where the room temperature is allowed to follow the cycle of the seasons. The summer heat favors fermentation while the winter cold slows the fermentation and allows the Vin Santo to naturally clarify itself.