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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 2002
2002’s weather report can be neatly divided into two halves: before and after the 10th of August, including the harvest. The early part of the vines’ vegetative cycle was precocious and positive, with normal flower and fruit setting despite the alternating spells of hot and cold weather. From 10th August there were abundant rains. The harvest began the 14th September, and ended on 10th October, amidst good days and bad. Due to this weather pattern it was necessary to carry out a severe selection. In the winery, a further selection process was installed: a second sorting table was added after the destemmer in order to remove any damaged grapes and to ensure that only perfectly healthy grapes went to the presses.
We are very proud of the Ornellaia 2002 because we think we produced a very good wine thanks to the severe selection that we practiced. We believe that this wine shows the very high quality of the territory, that gives a good response also in cold vintages. Ornellaia 2002 is a very elegant and fresh wine, very near to its cousins from Bordeaux.