Region: Tuscany, Bolgheri
Grape Variety: 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 17% Petit Verdot
Alcohol Percentage: 14%
Rating: 93 James Suckling | 93 Wine Spectator | 90 Wine Enthusiast Points
Climate: Semi-concealed in the foothills near Bolgheri, Ornellaia lies just a few kilometres from the Mediterranean coast. During the summer months, the cool sea breeze caresses the vineyards and nearby olive groves, while during the winter the hills provide protection from the cold north winds
Ageing: The clusters were hand-picked into 15 kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after de-stemming, and finally gently crushed. Since 2016, optical sorting has been introduced in addition to manual selection, in order to further increase the quality of selection. Each variety and each parcel was vinified separately. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel, at temperatures of between 26° and 30°C for two weeks followed by maceration of around 10-15 days. Malolactic fermentation was started in stainless steel and completed after transfer to barrels (25% new and 75% a year old). The wine remained in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellar for a further 15 months. It was assembled after the first 12 months and then reintroduced in the barrels for a further 3 months. After bottling, it was aged for an additional six months prior to release.
Color: Lively ruby red
Nose: Great aromatic complexity, with aromas of berries, blackberry, raspberry and red cherry accompanied by floral hints of wild rose and spicy notes of pink pepper and liquorice
Palate: Great tannic structure that is enveloping and balanced, combined with a crisp and savoury finish
About the Winery:
This prestigious winery was founded by Lodovico Antinori, a man of some pedigree in Tuscany and his aunt (wife to Marchese Mario, the man who at Sassicaia was responsible for beginning the Super-Tuscan movement). He began as a winemaker in California, but returned to his native homeland in 1981.
Having inherited a plot of marshy Maremma coastland from his mother, Antinori began creating his wines in the Super-Tuscan mould, eschewing native varieties like Sangiovese for those more typical of Bordeaux. He cultivated Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and released the first vintage of his flagship wine, Ornellaia, in 1985. The Merlot was planted as an experiment and in an effort to differentiate his estate from Sassicaia, the original Super-Tuscan where Lodovico Antinori’s brother Piero was a highly successful consultant.
The combination of Bolgheri’s unique soils and growing conditions, and what can only be characterized as a total obsession with excellence, resulted in the world-class wines that so many wine lovers across the world have come to cherish. In addition to its place among Italy’s iconic wines, Ornellaia is also an ambassador for the Bolgheri region, leading it to be recognized as one of Italy’s greatest winegrowing regions. It is their belief, and it is hard to argue, that Bolgheri’s mild maritime climate and diversity of soils create wines as distinct, complex and pleasurable as any in the world.