The 2018 Ornellaia Bianco is mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a complementary 15% addition of Viognier for added structure and textural support. This vintage shows the usual understated or slightly reserved character that we've seen in past editions. With a little prodding and swirling, the bouquet opens gradually to reveal a pretty assortment of d'Anjou pear, white peach, honeysuckle and toasted almond. The wine is fermented in oak, but malolactic fermentation does not occur. There are pretty dustings of saffron and crushed stone that hint at the evolution and elegance to come with extra time in the bottle. This wine was just released in May 2021.
The 2018 vintage offers a unique perspective on the wines of Bolgheri, and nowhere is this more evident than the property that houses two powerhouse brands, Masseto and Ornellaia, just off the scenic via Bolgherese at the heart of this dynamic appellation located on the shores of northern Tuscany. Two of Italy’s most important wines are coming online. The 2018 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia is being released now and the 2018 Masseto will hit the market later this year in October. We also have the 2018 Ornellaia Bianco (released now), the 2019 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia (to be released in September) and the other wines from the Ornellaia program coming soon. The number two wine in the Masseto program, the 2019 Masseto, will be available in the fall. The 2018 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia sees a historically high percentage of Merlot in the blend. That grape makes up 50% of the wine, with 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and tiny percentages of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. “The Merlot in 2018 was a big surprise, and we thought that a little meat was missing on the bones of the Cabernet Sauvignon,” he says. The Merlot harvest lasted about three weeks, starting at the end of August and lasting until September 25. The estate has various plots of the grape with different conditions and ripening dates and that explains the long harvest window. The percentage of Merlot in the 2018 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is also greater.