An Utterly Elusive Blue Chip

From the time that Sassicaia became world-famous as the first great Super Tuscan, the top level of Tuscan collectibles has been dominated by wines made from Bordeaux varietals. First, there were the Cabernets: Sassicaia and Solaia. And then came the Merlots: Massetto, Redigaffi and Messorio.

A sixth wine has now joined them: Isole e Olena’s Collezione de Marchi Cabernet Sauvignon. And despite the fact that it has been around for 30 years, it has only recently been appreciated for the great wine that it is. And the vintage that put it over the top—making it a true Tuscan blue chip—was the now virtually unobtainable 2010.

A Change in Course

The wine’s story actually began in 1976, when Paolo de Marchi arrived at the great Isole e Olena estate in Chianti Classico. Initially considered a master of Sangiovese, in 1986 de Marchi began to show that he was just as gifted with Bordeaux varieties.

In that year he created Collezione de Marchi Cabernet Sauvignon, marrying the Cabernet grape with the estate’s fan undulating slopes of limestone rich galestro and albarese soils in the commune of Barberino Val d’Elsa on the western edge of Chianti Classico.

He also knew just where to get the best material: old Bordeaux clones sourced from Castello dei Rampolla, which had in turn acquired them from Marchese di Incisa at Sassicaia. Most of the cuttings were Cabernet Sauvignon, balanced by small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

By the early 2000s, James Suckling was calling the Collezione de Marchi Cabernet “the best pure Cabernet Sauvignon in Italy.”

Taking Off

The Collezione de Marchi Cabernet is one of Tuscany’s finest wines, but it is also among its scarcest, with production historically in the 500-case range. In fact, its very small production has assured that more collectors have heard of it than have actually tasted it.

With Galloni’s 98-point review, the 2010 has completely disappeared from the US market, making this offer absolutely extraordinary.

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