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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.
Ornellaia 2006, an ‘Exuberant’ personality
Winemaker Axel Heinz: A wine with beautiful balance and great personality
Bolgheri (Italy), May 2009. Just after harvest, the 2006 vintage was described as being "fruit driven, full and enveloping, with considerable substance." Now that the flagship wine of the Bolgheri Estate is reaching the world markets, the choice of adjectives with which to describe it has become clearer, and indeed can be narrowed down to just one: the 2006 Ornellaia is exuberant!
Nature blessed the 2006 vintage with the fullness of territorial expression matched with a surprising natural acidity. A tightly woven tannic structure and exceptional polyphenolic richness.
"Every varietal gave its best," comments Leonardo Raspini, Agronomist and General Manager of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, adding, "Great aroma and structure in the Merlot, first rate Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot the likes of which we had never seen, and absolutely classic Cabernet Sauvignon."
The exuberance of the 2006 harvest derives from a growing season characterized by practically no rainfall, coupled with temperatures that were never excessive. A mix that allowed the vines of Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia to produce fruit which was perfect in size and with a perfect skin/pulp ratio.
"From the beginning, I was struck by the freshness of the tannins," says Axel Heinz, Winemaker, adding: "Their length and elegance is a characteristic exclusive to great wines."