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News

Masseto Unveils New Winery

An architectural masterpiece perfectly represents and embodies the Estate's identity 

Masseto, Italy’s most collectible estate wine, is elated to have just unveiled a brand-new winery that brings together stunning design and uncompromised functionality devoted to producing the Estate’s highly-acclaimed, single-vineyard wine.

Carved deep into the ancient blue clay that underpins the vineyard, the Masseto winery is a physical and symbolic tribute to the Estate’s history and rapid evolution from intuition about the hidden potential of a vineyard site to an internationally-acclaimed wine.

“The Winery is a tribute to the past, present and future of Masseto. It celebrates the incredible story of a wine that was never meant to exist,” said Masseto CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja. “Years of planning and effort have been dedicated to building the right home for Masseto. One that consolidates three decades of experience, where every aspect has been designed to meet the winemaking team’s highly detailed requirements.”

Technical facilities in the subterranean building have been stripped back to minimalistic, low-impact basics. “Nothing is missing, and there is no more than necessary,” said Masseto Estate Director Axel Heinz. He stressed that winemaking at Masseto, which balances austerity, modernity and tradition, will remain unchanged. “Our winemaking is about reducing the process, reducing intervention, with a ‘less is more’ philosophy.”

Designed by architects Hikaru Mori and Maurizio Zito of the ZitoMori Studio, the building represents and reinforces Masseto’s discreet but powerful identity. Above ground, only the low lines of the grape reception area and the restored Masseto House emerge from the hill.

Built to incorporate a gravity flow winemaking process, and benefiting from the blue clay’s natural insulation, the structure is symbiotic with the hills and vineyard that surround it. The architects called their underground design concept The Quarry. “To represent the effort required to produce the wine made here, we created a series of spaces - not by construction, but by extraction from the hill’s monolithic mass. The diverse internal volumes, heights and levels are reminiscent of a gold mine as it follows seams of precious metal to the core,” said Japanese-born architect Hikaru Mori.

Cast-in-place concrete was used for the winery’s architectural framework. Inside, clean lines of glass and steel predominate, balanced by rows of oak barrels. Textured and scored surfaces throughout are a reminder of the extractive construction process, while openings in the walls frame vertical profiles of the vineyard’s inimitable blue clay terroir.

At the very heart of the structure lies the Estate’s wine library, Masseto Caveau. Bottles of every vintage since 1986 are preserved here, in perfect cellaring conditions, each suspended in its own stainless-steel mesh cradle. There could be no better physical manifestation of the Estate’s history.

The 2018 vintage is the first to be vinified in the Winery, by recently appointed cellar master Eleonora Marconi.

 

Ornellaia Celebrates 30th Anniversary of First Vintage (1985) and 10th Anniversary of Vendemmia d'Artista Project with Custom Artwork by William Kentridge and Charity Auction at the V&A in London

To commemorate the 30th vintage of iconic Italian wine Ornellaia and the 10th edition of the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project, the iconic Bolgheri estate invited world-renowned artist William Kentridge to create special-edition labels centered on the theme of “carisma,” or “charisma.” The art, created to represent the character of the vintage itself, will adorn a limited number of Ornellaia 2015 wine bottles. Continuing its partnership with Sotheby’s, Ornellaia will donate 9 rare lots to be auctioned off during a gala evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and all proceeds will be used to support the arts and art education at the V&A. 

For this year’s edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista – a project launched in 2009 to showcase the unique relationship between fine wine and contemporary art – South African artist William Kentridge developed a site-specific art installation, designed a limited series of 111 large-format bottles, and created a limited-edition label that will appear on one of the six bottles in each case of Ornellaia. As explained by William Kentridge, the images on the labels depict the work of winemaking, specifically the unique combination of craft and processes involved in the vendemmia, or the wine harvest. 

“The secateurs come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia… when I spent six months in San Casciano outside of Florence…” Kentridge recounts. “The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers…. The drawings are done on pages from various old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.” 

The theme “Il Carisma,” or “charisma,” was selected for the 2015 vintage, as it perfectly captures the stunning spirit and energy of this wine. Its rich, deep color suggests a wine of great texture and intensity, while the fruit-rich nose shows both ripeness and freshness, with hints of classic balsamic and spice. On the palate, it is rich, dense, and full-bodied, with an exceptionally tannic texture that is simultaneously dense and velvety along the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.

The classic flavor profile and exceptional character of this particular vintage can be attributed to the fact that 2015 was a particularly well-balanced harvest season, with relatively normal, almost textbook-like weather patterns. Winemaker and Estate Director Axel Heinz explains, “Like people of great ‘carisma’ (charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves.” 

On May 23, the spotlight will shift to the celebratory event, a benefit auction featuring 9 rare lots, which will include the special bottles created by William Kentridge for the Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. Stephen Mould, Sotheby’s Senior Director and Head of the European Wine Department, will preside over the gala dinner and auction, and all funds raised will be donated in their entirety to the host sponsoring the event, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London. 

V&A Director Tristram Hunt states, “The V&A is thrilled to host Ornellaia, Sotheby’s, and the renowned artist William Kentridge, as they present the 10th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista. We are honored that Ornellaia have chosen the V&A for this spectacular event and we are hugely grateful for its generous support.” 

Stephen Mould continues, “I admire how William Kentridge interprets Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” through his allegorical language – the artworks he has created for the bottles and the estate transform the spirit of Ornellaia through visual art and make concrete his interpretation of Ornellaia 2015’s character. This vintage, born during an optimal harvest season, is set to be one of Ornellaia’s greatest.” Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine, further elaborates, “Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in our tenth collaboration with Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program… These unique large-format bottles will find homes in new cellars and will always remind their new owners of the joys of bringing wine, food, art and friendship together.”

Ornellaia CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja concludes, “Today, as Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 10th year, it continues to attract funds for the restoration of artworks belonging to our universal heritage. In just first nine editions we have succeeded in donating almost two million euros across the globe; just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come.” 
 

Masseto Announces 2014 Vintage

Bolgheri, 1 October 2017. Due to a warm, rainy winter, dry spring, and damp August, 2014 was an unusual year in Masseto’s history. The weather conditions – particularly those experienced in August – made it difficult for the grapes to ripen and significantly increased the risk of fungal diseases. However, thanks to vineyard’s resilient blue clay soils, and the team’s meticulous work in the vineyard, including leaf-pulling and anti-fungal treatments, the grapes remained healthy up through harvest in September and October, when the weather was mostly sunny and dry. During harvest, the best clusters were hand selected, getting passed through multiple times before being re-examined on the sorting tables.

 

Following de-stemming and yet another sorting, the grapes were separated according to the eight vineyard blocks from which they were picked. Grapes from each vineyard block were gently pressed and vinified separately. Fermentation took place in a combination of steel and wood tanks, then malolactic fermentation started in 100% new oak barrels. The different lots were kept separate for 12 months before being combined and aged in barrels for another 12 months. The wine was then aged in the bottle for another 12 months before release.

 

“Stylistically, the wine displays outstanding balance, with supple, velvety tannins and remarkably complex aromatics,” noted Alex Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director. “This Masseto expresses a refined sensuality and silk-smooth seductiveness, all in its own distinctively classic, elegant fashion. The combination of terroir and style found in the 2014 vintage attests to the incredible ability of Masseto to cope with adverse weather conditions.”

“This year marks a very special year for Masseto,” explained Alex Belson, Director of Masseto. “We have started excavations, delving deep into the heart of the Masseto hill, in order to lay the foundations for a dedicated winery that will be completed for harvest 2018. It has been amazing to witness the uncovering of these clays... blue, impenetrable and exceptional.”

About Masseto:

Masseto is a unique place producing a unique wine. The Masseto hill, which looks out towards the Mediterranean sea, can be divided into 3 main sections due to its different subsoils, which combined give the wine its unforgettable character . An intriguing combination of structure & opulence, matched with elegance & softness, Masseto owes its distinct personality to the blue clays of the Pliocene Era which dominate the soils of this small Estate. Masseto, controlled by the Frescobaldi family, has received international acclaim since its birth in 1986.

 

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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9 different wines with 131 vintages

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Wine Moments

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

 Olga Fusari / Ornellaia, Wine Maker (Italy)  tasted  18 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  18 wines 

With an intense ruby-red colour, Ornellaia 2019 has a bouquet full of intriguing spicy and balsamic notes, including aromas of black pepper, sage and aromatic herbs. The wine is both full-bodied and vibrant in the mouth, filling the palate with its dense and elegant tannic texture and ending with a persistent and beautifully crisp finish

17d 1h ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  52 wines 

The 1990s 100 tasting delivered the expectations. So many great wines, but only one 100 point wine for me – Harlan Estate 1994. Mouton-Rothschild 99p and Pétrus 1990s 98+p closely behind. 

19d 23h ago

 Luca Gardini/BWW2022 -Best Italy Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Italy)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  16 wines 

The 100-tasting with wines like Petrus 1990, Margaux 1990, Masseto 1997, Mouton 1990, Colgin Herb Lamb 1994 etc.

20d 3h ago

 Dirk Niepoort / Niepoort, Wine Maker (Portugal)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  16 wines 

The 100-tasting 1990's - wines like Petrus 1990, Harlan Estate 1994, Screaming Eagle 1999, Masseto 1997, Mouton Rothschild 1990 etc.

1m 25d ago

 Ornellaia  has updated producer and wine information

2m 25d ago

 Ornellaia  has updated producer and wine information

3m 27d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  38 wines 

Almost three years of pandemic influence made travels in the world of wine rather difficult. This journey to Tuscany offered the opportunity to see, what happened in the last three years and to taste wines, which are actual releases. It was wonderful to talk to the heads behind the wines. A highly appreciated moment after difficult times.                 

3m 27d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  14 wines 

A huge number of wines will be released this autumn and the first samples arrived in Essen. It is a quite mixed bag with different origins, grape varieties and styles, but the tasting was highly entertaining. This is the first part of a series of tastings, travelling the whole world of wine. 

6m 3d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  32 wines 

After two years without a fair, Prowein opened its doors on Mai 15, 2022. It was wonderful to see people "live and in colour", having good discussions and feel rather well. The fair has made everything, that visitors could feel at ease. Large corridors and therefore no "traffic jams" in the alleys were creating a very pleasant atmosphere. Although I am not a big fan of tasting on fairs, as the situation is often not ideal, this edition of Prowein with the more relaxed atmosphere invited to discover some novelties.

7m 13d ago

 Ornellaia  has updated producer and wine information

8m 4d ago

 Richard Hemming MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection Brut 1959 / Disgorged February 2013. Fully fermented in oak. Mid gold. Very expressive, coffee, milk, smoke and biscuit. Has crossed the flavour threshold from champagne to Burgundy – though the mousse is still very present. Very lengthy finish. Biscuits, slight bitter orange. Splendidly indulgent and rich.

1y 2m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Ornellaia . In a tasting of  53 wines 

2017 Opus One / Ruby. Cassis, blueberries, anise, spices, vanilla, liquorice, some coffee, layered nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, juicy, spices, liquorice, detailed and layered, nuanced, intense and superb length. 96

1y 3m ago

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