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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.
The climate for the 1995 vintage was characterised by a late Spring which caused the flowering to occur slightly later than usual: the latter part of May for the Merlot and at the end of June for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. The temperatures were slightly cooler than average for the months of June and July, and the area also experienced slightly more rainfall than usual. Shortly thereafter temperatures rose to a level significantly higher with the absence of any rainfall, encouraging the maturation of the fruit. The onset of August was uncharacteristically rainy which subsequently caused a lowering of the temperature, resulting in a period much cooler than normal. Mid-September through the end of October was characterized by a perfect climate which allowed for optimum maturation of the grapes. The fruit was collected entirely by hand in baskets of max 15 Kg. Harvest was carried out between the 5th and the 11th of September for the Merlot and between the 19th of September and the 10th of October for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc.