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News

ORNELLAIA BEGINS ‘GREAT’ 2016 HARVEST

The Tuscan estate began harvesting its Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier on 22 August and is gearing up to begin picking the red grapes.

Axel Heinz, director and winemaker at Ornellaia, explained that the precocious harvest was a result of “no significant rainfall” during August.

“Significant heat in July and August speeded up the ripening process,” he explained. “Fortunately, Bolgheri is a blessed island in that it experiences wide day-night temperature differentials, which in turn allows the vines to recover during the night from the daytime heat and dryness. In addition, the depth of our soils creates optimal conditions for developing the aromatic qualities of our grapes.”

He said that the white grapes showed “excellent component levels”, with a potential alcohol level of 13% and good acidity.

The pickers began on the Merlot this week and will move onto other varieties next week.

Heinz added: “Looking at things at this moment, it is quite possible that 2016 could be among the best vintages at Ornellaia, on a par with 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2012, which were all characterized by hot, dry summers and yet gave us wines of great concentration, structure, and richness.

“The first vine-rows we pick are never the whole story, so we are still sampling all the various vineyards and evaluating their data. In point of fact, though, the figures we are seeing do indicate a vintage similar to the great ones of past years.”

 

 

2014 Harvest

Given that August had been rainy and cold, the 2014 harvest began with a great deal of trepidation. The ripening process had been considerably and the vineyards required a lot of extra work; leaf-pulling and removal of damaged or under-ripe clusters, for example, gave the clusters better exposure to the sun and helped them to ripen.

Fortunately, after these extensive efforts we were also rewarded with two sun filled months, September and October, that allowed the grapes to achieve perfect ripeness. The 2014 harvest was not only one of Ornellaia’s latest ever, but also one of its most satisfactory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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History

Ornellaia is situated on the Via Bolgherese in that triangle between the sea, the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri and the town of Castagneto Carducci and, to get there, one travels up part of the historic ‘cypress avenue’ celebrated by the poet Giosuè Carducci.

The property comprises 97 hectares planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Since the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s foundation in 1981, this beautiful and unspoiled area has become synonymous with winemaking of the first order and has seen the birth of great labels such as: Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Masseto and Le Volte.

 

Ornellaia’s story began in 1981 when its founder, Marchese Lodovico Antinori, selected the plots of land in Bolgheri, a still untamed area of the Tuscan Maremma, for planting Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. He considered these the vines most suited to benefiting from the area’s extraordinary and special micro-climate.

In March 1999 the californian wine producer Robert Mondavi purchased minority shares in the Estate and becomes owner in 2002, passing 50% of the shares to the Tuscan wine producing family Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi. In April 2005 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi take over total ownership. The Team that leads the Tenuta autonomously, consistently takes its inspiration from the principles that helped to build up the success of the estate and the fame of its products throughout the years. The past is something to be treasured, but Ornellaia believes, above all, in the future and has proved this by entrusting its fortunes to a brilliant, young, international team lead by Leonardo Raspini (agronomist and General Manager), Alexandra Belson (Commercial Director) and Axel Heinz (Winemaker). They stand out because of their enthusiasm, their ambition and their desire for innovation. Each considers quality as the norm in carrying forward development both personally and as a team whilst their method of working together consistently includes active, constructive, informative and relentless confrontation. As a result, each meeting and each conversation is both an opportunity and the premise for helping the estate grow.

 

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Vineyards

Ornellaia’s philosophy is ‘quality without compromise.’

Key elements of this unique terroir are its soil and climate. Man’s work is also an integral part of this search for excellence and is expressed through: extraordinary care in the vineyards, during the harvest and in vinification, in bottling and promoting the wines. Behind these famous labels is a team of experts from every winemaking sector who interpret the principles of the estate as they were set out twenty years ago on a daily basis.

The vineyards: Ornellaia lies on the Tuscan coast, in the area just north of the Maremma between Leghorn and the Island of Elba, and which, for more than twenty years, has been one of the most interesting in Italy for making wine.

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Inside information

Rodney Graham interprets “L’Infinito” for Ornellaia 2011,

in 6 years more than 1 million euros donated across the globe

Artist Rodney Graham creates special labels for a limited & numbered series of large-size bottles

to be offered at a gala evening auction conducted by Sotheby’s at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, which will receive the auction proceeds.

 

 Milan, March 2014 – For this year’s edition of Vendemmia d’Artista, the art project that Ornellaia launched in 2009 to revive, in a modern key, the Renaissance tradition and cultural value of artistic commissions, the winery selected Canadian artist Rodney Graham to interpret L’Infinito (Infinity), the quality that characterises Ornellaia 2011. The project, now in its sixth year, has collected more than one million euros, all of which has been donated to foundations across the globe that effectively promote and assist art, in all of its varied expressions, including the Whitney Museum in New York, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin; the Royal Opera House in London, and the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong, without forgetting the Poldi Pezzoli Musem in Milan.

On 12 June 2014, ORNELLAIA will be in the spotlight at a charity auction and gala dinner with 9 lots, which will include 8 special bottles created by Rodney Graham for Vendemmia d’Artista Ornellaia 2011 L’Infinito. Under the gavel of Jamie Ritchie, CEO & President Sotheby’s Americas & Asia, the auction will raise funds that will all go to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) of Toronto, the venue of the auction.

To interpret the distinctive theme selected for the 2011 harvest, Infinity, Ornellaia invited Canadian artist Rodney Graham to create an artwork and exclusive wine labels, each individually hand-signed by the artist, that adorn the 111 large-format bottles of Ornellaia: 100 3-litre Double Magnums, 10 6-litre Imperials, and 1 one-of-a-kind 9-litre Salmanazar. Graham, embracing the poetic theme Infinity as well as that of wine as a fountain of inspiration for both the senses and the soul, created poems that were then printed on the labels, using traditional printing procedures, with the painstaking attention and expertise classic to Italian art craftsmanship.  The 100 Double Magnums bear a poem enclosed in a geometrical, normally-shaped label, while the 10 Imperials and the single Salmanazar are each adorned with a different poem and a different-contoured label, which make each individual bottle an artwork unto itself. In addition, Graham collected all of the poems into a numbered and signed art-book entitled Short Poems of Merit, which will accompany each bottle.  

“For the Ornellaia commission I decided to approach the challenge of creating an artist's label by taking on the persona of a poet, in this case an author of light verse. Wine and Poetry. Some of the poems I wrote are about wine, some are written under the influence of it. A few rhyme and all are written in a humorous vein,” said Rodney Graham. “I explored various typographic and layout possibilities in the texts and these led to the individual geometric shapes that form the eleven different labels”.

“Following the success of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ornellaia,” stated Ornellaia CEO Giovanni Geddes, “Vendemmia d’Artista now reaches its 6th edition. That means that the art commissions that marry together art and wine continue to donate to the restoration of art on an international level. We have succeeded, in just five years, in donating more than one million euros across the globe. That may seem just a drop in the ocean, but we are committed to further growth.”

 

“Ornellaia 2011, an immensely heady, powerful bouquet of bilberries and wild herbs, intense and emphatic,” wrote Serena Sutcliffe, MW, Head of Sotheby’s International wine department. “Great chocolate flavours, with the tannin enveloped by glycerol.  The whole Mediterranean in a bottle.”

 

"Bolgheri is today one of the most famous spots to produce wine in the world. Everybody remembers the fantastic 2001 vintage,” remarked Michel Rolland, international winemaking consultant. “Ten years after, 2011 is as amazing as 2001 was. But we are working better, and 2011 seems to me more sophisticated."

“Wine, just as people, distinguishes itself by its originality, and every vintage has the capacity to transmit a unique character. Within a defined Ornellaia style, our focus is to identify, consolidate and enhance the distinct trait of each vintage,” affirmed Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Director of Production of ORNELLAIA, pointing out that “With the 2011 vintage, Ornellaia returns to a typically Mediterranean expression of Bolgheri’s terroir. In a particularly sunny and dry vintage, but without any excess, Ornellaia 2011 has allowed us to reach a perfect level of ripeness, offering a dense wine with great aromatic intensity, but at the same time elegant, complex, and perfectly balanced. The palate impresses with great concentration and an impressive tannic structure, but the tannins remain lithe and velvety, allowing the wine to expand on the palate without any feeling of heaviness.”

Canadian Rodney Graham has won deep respect for the rigorously intellectual quality of his art, which ranges through photography, film, video, music, sculpture, painting, and writing. Graham’s work analyses social systems and philosophies of thought, with particular reference to the Enlightenment and Modernism.  Each individual work bears the hallmarks of an historical context, which embeds a complex narrative incorporating literary and philosophical references as well as visual word games. 

To interpret L’Infinito of Ornellaia 2011, (www.ornellaia.it - http://www.ornellaia.com/it/#vendemmia), the artist drew inspiration from wine itself, which impels thought towards infinite creative possibilities, such as poetry. The poetic composition claims a role that exceeds the power of perception, a concept that allows us to arrive at infinity. Graham represented Canada at the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte la Biennale of Venezia in 1997, and numerous international museums have dedicated personal shows to his works, including the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montréal, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Art Curators of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista are Maria Alicata and Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, ex-Director of Rome’s Museo Macro di Roma and of the Italian pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia.

The sources of Graham’s inspiration are as varied as 19th-century scientific experimentation, pop culture of the 1980s, and all of literature, while he often pays tribute in his works to those who have influenced his life and oeuvre, including Sigmund Freud, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, the Brothers Grimm, Richard Wagner, and Stéphane Mallarmé.

Among Graham’s most important group of works is a series of photographs of upside-down trees, which both summon up the origins of photography itself, conjuring up the inverted and reversed images created by the early camera obscuras, as well as draw attention to the process of rationalisation whereby we frame and define our vision of the world. The work that Graham created for Ornellaia is an upside down photo of the century-old oak at Bellaria, on the Ornellaia wine estate.

In the words of the artist himself, “You don’t have to delve very deeply into modern physics to realize that the scientific view holds that the world is really not as it appears. Before the brain rights it, the eye sees a tree upside down in the same way it appears on the glass back of the large format field camera I use. I chose the tree as an emblematic image because it is often used in diagrams in popular scientific books and because it was used in Saussure’s book on linguistics to show the arbitrary relation between the so-called signifier and the signified.”

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6 different wines with 71 vintages

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  18 wines 

"New Italy" tasting with superb wines like from great vintage 2004 Masseto, Redigaffi, Messorio, Galatrona, Scrio etc.

21d 7h ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  20 wines 

This was a fabulous lunch. Six vintages each of Dom Perignon, Roederer Cristal and Veuve Clicquots Grande Dame followed by 12 Bordeaux from 1986. I preferred Dom P in most vintages. The premier crus are good in 1986 but many others are getting too tannic as the fruit dries up.

1m 1d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Cardboard was the first thing that I noticed in the nose of the 2004 Pavillon Rouge du Margaux, in the best way possible and not in a corked way, I should add. Coffee, roasted nut and cassis were all secondary, with pinches of earth blending into the coffee. Tertiary aromas of cedar and fir spice emerged in this round and tender wine. The palate was earthy with that gout de terroir, possessing candle wax flavors and a very dry finish, typical of the vintage. I remembered this wine being more impressive at the winery, but then again doesn’t it always taste better there? Gil insisted that the white was so good, it knocked down the ’04 a notch or two.

1m 15d ago

 Martin de Boer, Wine Importer (Netherlands)  tasted  17 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Ornellaia tasting with all the vintages between 1990-2014

3m 30d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Last evening was a real " Voyage autour du monde" along with the top 24 wines that wine countries can offer, and there was only four of us enjoying them...Unfortunately, quite a lot of bottles remained half empty, but not the Petrus 2003, Cheval Blanc 1947, Screaming Eagle 1999, Pingus 1995, Haut-Brion Blanc 1995, Lafleur 1996 etc.

4m 28d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  27 wines 

A Taste of Greatness -tasting with perfect wines like Martha's Vineyards 1974, Harlan 1994, Sassicaia 1985, Pingus 1995, Yquem 1899 etc.

6m 3d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Amazing Magnum-tasting with quite a few 100 points wines like Latour 1982, Mouton 1982, Haut Brion 1989, Martha's Vineyard's 1975...

8m 14d ago

 Wallace Shawn / Wine Investing Consult, Wine Dealer (Luxembourg)  tasted  17 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“Ornellaia 2010 / Very dark and deep in colour. The nose showed high toned black fruit, smoke, soft vanilla oak, minerals, and a note of coffee. On the palate it had a good concentration of fruit balanced by some soft tannins, with very smooth and long ending. Good structure with excitement and thrill. Definitely the one of the best Tuscany's of this great vintage.”

1y 2m ago

 Gagan Sharma / Sommelier, Sommelier (India)  tasted  3 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  23 wines 

“Masseto is a pure Merlot wine produced by Tenuta dell’Ornellaia since 1986. It is often referred as the “Pétrus of Italy”. In 2011 After a very late-developing 2010 growing season, 2011 was characterised by warm, dry weather and a harvest much earlier than the average.
A rainy winter was followed by a warmer-than average spring that brought forward the start of vine growth by a full 10 days. Budbreak was particularly rapid and uniform, always a good indicator of a fine growing year. Then cooler weather in June and July slowed vine development. The expected rains arrived on schedule after flowering and during veraison, encouraging optimal cluster growth, aromatic intensification, and, even more important, exceptionally-generous accumulation of polyphenols. A heat spell at the end of August further quickened ripening, bringing us the earliest harvest ever in the history of Masseto. The grapes arriving in the cellar were perfectly sound and healthy, well balanced, and with no sign of over-ripeness.

Deep ruby-purple colour. Powerful and intense nose with loads of blackcurrants, toasty oak, fresh herbs, smoke, green capsicum and dark chocolate. Full-bodied structure with intense ripe dark fruit with refined firm tannins and opulence. Good potential for further ageing and investing.

1y 4m ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  21 wines 

“This was the tasting hosted by one of Australia's top importers, Negociants, for their Working with Wine program. Run every two years, it is a wonderful event, a series of seminars with top winemakers around the country (Yquem is the next, later this year). This time it was Tuscany focusing on Antinori and Isole. ”

1y 5m ago

 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  19 wines 

“This was a fabulous Italian lunch (at Tartuffe in Brisbane). The idea is everyone brings a top-notch bottle or two of the ‘theme of the day’. In this case, great Italian. That said, we kicked off with a White Burg as no one thought there was any Italian whites good enough (there was an old Vin Santo at the end of the day, but sadly I could not decipher my own notes – bad enough at any time but not helped after a day like this).
We then had the obligatory Champers and then it was into the reds. The first couple served blind, though the person who brought them felt both fell short of what they should have shown (and had before). Then it was into Piedmont and Tuscany and a fine battle for supremacy. In the end, it was Piedmont hands down. Daylight second.
Fabulous collection of wines. ”

1y 6m ago

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