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“It is impossible not to be impressed by the consistent results Ornellaia achieves year after year.” - Antonio Galloni
Lodovico Antinori has built up one of the most successful and famous wineries in all of Italy in the hills near Bolgheri, next door to the equally famous (but longer established estate of Sassicaia). The Bolgheri region, mid-way along the Tuscan coast is firmly established as one of the finest wine regions in the world. There is an extraordinary microclimate, vast soil diversity and well established vines. All this results in sought-after terroir-driven wines.
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia itself is on the Via Bolgherese, set in a triangle formed by the sea, the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri and the town of Castagneto Carducci. Covering 97 hectares (about 240 acres), the vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
If Sassicaia put this area on the map, Bolgheri today is synonymous with winemaking of the highest order and the Ornellaia estate’s wines reflect the exceptional terroir of the region, complemented by the wonderful Mediterranean climate of coastal Tuscany. From the village itself the view extends far out to sea and on a clear day the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago and Corsica can be seen. The low hilly landscape is dotted with ancient olive groves and vineyards, surrounded by acres of dense woodlands and typical Mediterranean maritime vegetation which create a haven for wildlife.
Today the estate is owned by Marchese di’ Frescobaldi and the wines are made by the highly skilled winemaker Axel Heinz. The wines are world-class and reflect the exceptional terroir of the Bolgheri region. Their respect of terroir and rigourous selection procedures amongst the vines and on the sorting tables in the winery means that nature decides the exact character of the wine as well as the quantity produced.
Four wines are made at the estate today. Le Volte is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot made in an elegant yet forward style. Le Serre Nuove dell' Ornellaia is the 'second vin' and seems to become finer and more collectable each and every vintage. Ornellaia DOC Superiore is the estate's flagship wine, produced from vines planted on the property at Bolgheri in 1982. Aged in French oak barriques for 18 months, it is about two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, one third Merlot, with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The exact blend varies from year to year. As with Le Serre Nuove, the final blend for each vintage of Ornellaia is decided about 6 months before the completion of its barrel ageing. The percentage of new wood is varied according to the characteristics of the vintage, and the wine remains in the bottle for a further 12 months before it is released.
And then there is Masseto. Masseto is a rare and exclusive Cru, made entirely from Merlot grapes grown a hillside vineyard bearing the same name. Masseto was first produced almost by chance when it was decided to vinify the Merlot of the Masseto vineyard separately in 1986, because it was 'so promising'.
“The estate produces a wide range of wines, from the entry-level Le Volte to the super-premium Merlot Masseto. To me, though, it is the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Ornellaia which truly captures the essence of these unique vineyards and microclimates.” - Antonio Galloni, www.erobertparker.com