Isole E Olena Vin Santo Chianti Classico

Isole E Olena Vin Santo Chianti Classico

The production of real Vin Santo is a painstaking and costly procedure. 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.
The yield of wine from the grapes is exceptionally low due to the drying process and the long fermentation period. A commom yield can be as low as 25 liters from 100 kilos of grapes as compared to 70 liters for a normal still wine.

Paolo then takes the collection of barrels and begins the blending process, barrel variation is tremendous, some are completely oxidized, some are as fresh as if they were made yesterday. Paolo starts with the best barrels and ends up with a truly magical wine, a primitive wine that is clean and at the same time balanced between oxidation and freshness. Shows great complexity.

Winemaker Notes

The grapes are grown on the Isole e Olena estate which covers 320 hectares, of which 49 are planted with vines and 55 with olives. The vineyards are approximately 400 metres above sea level and face south-west. The oldest vines on the estate were planted in 1958 and the youngest in 2007. When Paolo De Marchi arrived at Isole e Olena in 1976, he stopped using white grapes, Trebbiano and Malvasia, in the blend for Chianti. He then asked the old farmers how to make the best Vin Santo possible, using traditional methods, and used the white grapes for this wine.


The grapes were dried for three to five months before pressing, after which the must was racked into 'caratelli' (small barrels of varying composition) where it fermented and aged for eight years before bottling. The wine remained on the 'madre' or starter culture for the entire ageing/fermenting period, during which time it was neither racked nor filtered. At the end of the ageing period, the resulting yield in wine from grapes comprises only 12-15%; that is, for every 100 kilos of grapes, only about 12 to 15 litres of Vin Santo are produced!

Tasting Notes

Lovely golden-amber in colour with an intense, open perfume of dried citrus peel, dried apricots and honey, giving way to a rich, luscious palate, with incredibly concentrated characters of honey, dried apricot and vanilla. A delicious, fresh finish keeps the wine unctuous without being cloying.

Grape varieties 60% Malvasia, 40% Trebbiano
Region Chianti Classico, Tuscany
Winemaker Paolo De Marchi

  • Italy
  • Italy - Tuscany
  • Dessert Wine
  • Other White

Shipping Options / Costs

Free shipping for orders over $150, otherwise

Shipping Option Per Box  Cost
Pick up in store All Free
Ship to: Local Wellington Region (*) Up to 12 bottles $2.50
Ship to: Rest of New Zealand Up to 12 bottles $6.00
Ship to: Rural Deliveries Up to 12 bottles Add + $4.50
Ship to: Waiheke Island Up to 12 bottles Add + $12.00
(*) Local Wellington includes Wellington City, Hutt City and Porirua City. 

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