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Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore DOC is the estate's flagship wine which embodies the quality philosophy of the estate.
Tenuta dell'Ornellaia's production hilosophy is based upon the belief that wines must be the most faithful expression of the terroirs that produce them. The mild marine climate and the colours and aromas of the lush Mediterranean vegetation leave a special imprint upon the character of the wines. A respect for the estate's unique territory guides all aspects of production: limited quantities to ensure maximum quality, attention to every detail, selective hand harvesting, microvinification and ageing.
The Ornellaia vineyard totals 280 acres that are divided into more than 70 vineyard plots according to soil type, exposition and varietal. There are three major soil types: marine (sedimentary deposit from the sea), alluvial (marly, sandy clays with mineral veins), and volcanic (schist, gravel and porous soils). All the vineyards are about 3 miles from the Mediterranean shore. The mild maritime climate features sea breezes that keep the sky clear, low rainfall, and long summers that favor the development of aromatic compounds.
Vineyards are planted at high density, from 5,000-8,700 hl/ha, and feature several training systems – spur-pruned cordon, single Guyot, and head-pruned vines.
The clusters are hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then go through a selection by hand on a double sorting table, both before and after destemming, and grapes are finally softly crushed. Each grape variety and single vineyard block is vinified separately. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two weeks, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation takes place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remains in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature- controlled cellars, for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine is assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine ages a further 12 months prior to release.
Climate and Harvest
The climate for the 1986 vintage was characterised generally by a fairly dry season with high temperatures during the final phases of berry ripening. This produced very healthy fruit with good concentration.
The harvest was carried out entirely by hand, and the grapes were collected in baskets holding no more than 15 Kg. The harvest began on the 15th of September and was continued until the 26th of September.
79%Cabernet Sauvignon/18%Merlot/ 3%Cabernet Franc
Vinification and Ageing
Temporary vinification facilities located at Tenuta San Guido.
The fermentation and maceration period lasted for 13 days and was carried out in 40 Hl stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation took place as soon as the wine had finished its alcoholic fermentation.
The 1986 wines were aged in French oak barriques of 225 litre (of which 60% were new oak and 40% once used) from February 1987 until June 1988 (17 months). This period was followed by 12 months of bottle ageing before release.
Winemaker 's Notes
Vertical Tasting: June 12, 2001
Slightly amber in colour, the 1986 vintage has a vegetal note on the nose, and on the palate it has a light acidity and a good level of alcohol. Ready to drink now.
“One of the hallmarks of wine, like people, is its originality, and each growing year exhibits a personality that renders a wine from that year truly unique. Within the overall Ornellaia style, we take much effort in identifying, highlighting, and consolidating in the wine the distinctive qualities of each vintage,” says Axel Heinz, winemaker and Director of production of ORNELLAIA.
ORNELLAIA’s philosophy considers the birth of the wines to be the truest expression of their terroir. The grapes for Ornellaia are selected by hand, and picked in the estate's vineyards in Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast. The varying natures of the estate's terroirs, marine, alluvial and volcanic, are ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc ad Petit Verdot. The Estate extends over 97 hectares along the Tuscan coast, just a short distance from the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri and the famed cypress-lined avenue ‘Viale dei Cipressi’. The constant work of the team and the ideal microclimatic and geological characteristics have led the wines, in just twenty years. -- 1985 was the first vintage of Ornellaia -- to enjoy great international success. In 2001 the 1998 Ornellaia was declared Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator. In 2011 the German ‘Der Feinschmecker’ assigned Ornellaia its most sought-after award, the ‘Weinlegende’.
Ornellaia has received considerable recognition also in the national press, and is consistently ranked among the top estates by the Italian Wine Guides, including Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Veronelli, Duemilavini AIS, and Luca Maroni.