A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2019 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia shows a greater degree of focus and detail compared to the previous vintage that I tasted at the same time. This wine reveals the sharp contours and etched character of the Cabernet Franc, especially with black licorice and black pepper. The results are linear and pure. Elegant fruit notes of blackberry and dark currant add to the thick layering of the wine. I tasted this sample not long after bottling, and we can expect the wine to hit the market in September 2021.
The 2018 vintage offers a unique perspective on the wines of Bolgheri, and nowhere is this more evident than the property that houses two powerhouse brands, Masseto and Ornellaia, just off the scenic via Bolgherese at the heart of this dynamic appellation located on the shores of northern Tuscany. Two of Italy’s most important wines are coming online. The 2018 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia is being released now and the 2018 Masseto will hit the market later this year in October. We also have the 2018 Ornellaia Bianco (released now), the 2019 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia (to be released in September) and the other wines from the Ornellaia program coming soon. The number two wine in the Masseto program, the 2019 Masseto, will be available in the fall. The 2018 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia sees a historically high percentage of Merlot in the blend. That grape makes up 50% of the wine, with 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and tiny percentages of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. “The Merlot in 2018 was a big surprise, and we thought that a little meat was missing on the bones of the Cabernet Sauvignon,” he says. The Merlot harvest lasted about three weeks, starting at the end of August and lasting until September 25. The estate has various plots of the grape with different conditions and ripening dates and that explains the long harvest window. The percentage of Merlot in the 2018 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is also greater. The 2019 vintage represents a return to a more classic Bolgheri taste profile with greater fruit weight, structure and soft tannins. The spring season saw cool weather and rain, causing a two-week delay in the growing cycle. The temperatures warmed up considerably by June, and those delays were quickly overcome. Harvest started the second week of September and lasted until October 4th. The teams at Masseto and Ornellaia are working toward a sustainability certification with a 360-degree approach aimed at bottle glass weight, renewable energy, recyclable packaging, solar energy and making sure that outsourced suppliers comply to the in-house sustainability protocols. Recent changes in 2019 have been made to reduce bottle weight across many of the wines including the Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia. The special bottle used for Masseto, based on a unique design and special mold, is quite heavy by today’s standards. Axel does not exclude that the Masseto bottle could also be revised.