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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 2009: L’Equilibrio
A seductive, silky Ornellaia
Bolgheri, Tuscany. A single characteristic to completely convey the 2009 vintage of Ornellaia seems a simple idea, but in fact it is quite difficult. L’Equilibrio expresses the balance of cool and hot weather that created optimal conditions for the ideal levels of ripeness and complexity of the grapes.
“Only constant, painstaking attention through the entire growth cycle and the harvest period ensured that we obtained that clean crispness and aromatic richness that always mark Ornellaia,” stated Axel Heinz, Director of Winemaking at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. “We are extremely proud of the 2009 vintage.”
In fact, a cool, rainy winter was followed by a sun-filled May, as only the Tuscan coast can bring. A few brief rains appeared also in June, then a long, gorgeous stretch of fine weather all summer long, with temperatures often staying above 35oC, the result of the scirocco winds.
Marked as one of the earliest harvests in Ornellaia’s history, Merlot started to come in on August 28. The later-repining varieties were able to ripen slowly as of some rains in mid September. Picking of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and finally, Cabernet Sauvignon ended on 6 October.
“To attribute the term Equilibrio to this vintage was an easy choice for us,” stated Leonardo Raspini, Managing Director and Agronomist of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. “The palate immediately impresses with a full-bodied, velvety smoothness that is surprisingly refined. The tannins, unprecedentedly glossy, are complemented on the finish by a crisp, lively thread of acidity.”
On the palate , the 2009 Ornellaia is marked by a spacious bouquet of well-ripened fruit, emphatic but in no way excessive, which is enlivened by pungent notes of wild herbs and dark chocolate.
“A correlation exists between the cultures of wine and art, between Venus and Bacchus,” states Michelangelo Pistoletto. “Neither of them has a practical function, but both are undoubtedly powerful in activating the human spirit. Many artists have found in wine a source of inspiration; it propels the mind towards imagination, fantasy, and towards truth too—in vino is truly veritas. The mirror, in particular, expresses truth and stimulates the imagination. I decided to utilise the mirror for the Ornellaia project, creating its profile through curving, sensuous lines that transgress the traditional square shape of a wine label. I wanted this artwork to be fluid, flexible, dynamic, just like the flowing movement of a thought.”
“In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ornellaia, we have created exclusively for vintage Ornellaia 2010 a special logo which is silk-screened in gold and ivory on each and every bottle, providing a unique and truly memorable experience” says Giovanni Geddes, CEO of ORNELLAIA. "The Vendemmia d'Artista project aims at re-establishing the tradition and value of Renaissance artistic patronage in a modern key. Every year we commission an internationally renowned artist to produce a work of art and an extremely limited number of special labels that are in themselves works of art, and which capture the essence of the vintage and its personality. In the past four editions of Ornellaia Vendemmia D'Artista we have raised over 1 Million of Euros through auctions of these special bottles, which have been donated to institutions related to the Arts. For the 2010 edition we have commissioned Michelangelo Pistoletto to celebrate the 25th anniversary.”
“Ornellaia 2010 is the 25th anniversary blockbuster - this will make everyone sit up,” says Serena Sutcliffe, MW Head of Sotheby’s International wine department. “And, in due course, drink up. From its dense, dark colour to its drenched berries nose, full of primary fruit, this is concentration in huge, velvety form. Coats the palate in majestic style.”
“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. He then pointed out: “Ornellaia 2010 reflects a particularly cool and late-ripening vintage in which the Mediterranean character finds a novel expression. The opulent richness steps back to let vivacity and complex aromatics prevail. The fruit is still present but fresh and vibrant. The texture is silky and elegant but maintains the density typical of Ornellaia’s greatest expressions.”
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s creation encapsulates the fundamental theme of his art: the mirror. The spiral that entwines itself around the Double Magnum bottle; the sculpted, three-dimensional spiral on the one-of-a-kind Salmanazar; and the varying forms of the Imperial bottle labels are all made of a special reflective material that is intimately connected with the motifs that the artist has been developing since the early 1960s. On the 3- and 9-litre bottles, the spiral creates a sense of infinity, with the artist ultimately conveying a spiritual expression. The 6-litre bottle labels are unique and represent a different composition of a 10-piece puzzle, each one with a different missing element. For the artist, the mirror, with its infinite forms, reflects both the spectator and the surrounding environment, introducing into the artwork a temporal dimension (www.25anni.ornellaia.com). The Art Curators for the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project are Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Maria Alicata.