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The bunches were hand-picked into 15 kg bins, and the fruit was carefully graded and selected on a double sorting table, before and after destemming. After a light crushing, each variety and vineyard block was vinified separately. A week-long fermentation was carried out at 26-30°C in stainless steel, followed by a maceration of 18 days. Malolactic fermentation took place in oak barrels (70% new and 30% once used). The wine remained in barriques in the temperature controlled cellars in Ornellaia for a total period of 18 months. After the first 12 months the master blend was made. The wine was then re-introduced into barrique where it spent the remaining 6 months, followed by 12 months in the bottle prior to release.
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.
With the exception of a few especially cold days in February and March that delayed budbreak by a few days, 2005 began with a fairly mild winter followed by a Spring that was warm and sunny from the outset. Because of this the vines flowered a week early, about 20 May for the precocious varietals. Vegetative vigour and production potentials were perfectly balanced from the beginning. The amount of bunch thinning required was therefore average for the season. June and July both did their duty: heat, sun, just a little rain. Perfect conditions for the veraison to occur uniformly. Finally, during August the grapes ripened steadily, with constant temperatures that never exceeded the seasonal average (32° C).
A few rainfalls in mid-month contributed to the optimal development of the bunches. At the end of August, the first analyses revealed extremely high polyphenolic potentials, an indication of a great vintage. The harvest began on August 30 with the Merlot from the younger vineyards, and was then repeatedly interrupted by showers, though the sea breezes quickly dried the bunches, while, thanks to the expertise of the harvesters, the grapes delivered to the cellar were perfectly sound. On 11 October the last Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard was picked, bringing the harvest to a close after 23 working days. The different varietals, vineyards, and parcels of land yielded 54 base wines, each an expression of the great potential of the vintage.