Category Archives: HOT NEWS

Bourgogne 2018: An ideal vintage

The 2018 vintage was met with a unanimous show of satisfaction from the north of Bourgogne to the south.

The exceptional weather, especially during the harvest period, resulted in grapes with perfect health, allowing picking to extend over almost a whole month. Initial tastings ahead of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction have given an early idea that 2018 will be a truly great year.

The vines had built up some reserves over winter thanks to some very rainy weather, and the growth cycle began on the late side. When the sun started to show in April, the vines sprang into life, with budburst taking place veryrapidly. The mild weather then allowed the plants to make up for lost time, even getting ahead of the average.
Frosts in April sent a shudder across the whole region, but damage remained very limited. Flowering and fruit setting took place without hindrance. Summer saw constant heat and drought, apart from a few hail storms in early July that were of no great consequence. The vines continued to grow at a fast pace until mid-August.

Veraison took a little longer in places, the heat and lack of water affecting some of the younger vineyards. Nonetheless, since the hydric reserves had been restocked over winter, most of the vines came to maturity nicely thanks to the ideal weather conditions. The first grapes were picked in the last 10 days of August. Since the dates of flowering,the rainfall and temperature varied greatly from one area to another, harvesting extended into the last 10 days of September. The fruit was in extraordinarily good health, and the weather was perfect, allowing each winemaker to harvest at the optimum moment. The mood was serene across the whole wine region, producers enjoying this magnificent vintage that combined quality and quantity.

Many think this will be one of the best vintages in many years. Vinification of the whites went without a problem, the grapes having retained a good level of acidity despite the heat. The reds required a little more  attention during vinification due to the relatively high level of potential alcohol.

White wines

In 2018, the aromatic complexity of the white wines is incredible. They are explosive on the nose, with an amazing diversity that reflects each terroir. The wines have a certain crispness and good minerality.  In the mouth, they are rounded and generous, balanced with a nice tension.

Red wines

The 2018 reds have a seductive intense color. They are already well structured and powerful, with nicely-integrated tannins and good concentration of fruit. These exceptional wines are perfectly balanced, and are already tasting well in their first flush of youth. This is a delicious vintage with splendid
maturity.

Crémant de Bourgogne

This is a benchmark year, with expressive aromas that vary from one varietal to another,promising balanced and aromatic base wines. The Pinot Noirs are generous, with notes of cherry and rose, resulting in balanced wines with a pleasant freshness. The Chardonnays are powerful, with moderate acidity, making them well-rounded. The fruit aromas reveal some exotic notes, nuanced by fragrances of apple and peach. The Gamays have delicate aromas of raspberry and strawberry, underscored by citrus touches (clementine, lemon).The Aligotés are sharp and lemony,as usual, with good length in the mouth.

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Harvest 2018 at Ornellaia By Axel Heinz – Winemaker & Estate Director

THE VIRTUES OF AUTUMN

In recent years mother nature seems moody and willing to put us on a roller coaster of changing vintage patterns. After the heat and drought of 2017, that perfectly fits the idea of global warming, 2018 turned out the almost exact opposite, one of the rainiest years in the last decade, saved “in extremis” by a glorious autumn of sunny weather during harvest.

 

THE GROWING SEASON

After a few years that made us forget what winter looks like, 2018 brought back normal conditions with a sufficient number of days with temperatures below 0°C to put the vines to well-deserved winter rest.  Bolgheri even enjoyed a rare number of days with snow. After the exceptionally dry 2017, abundant rain allowed to fill the water tables again.

 

March was almost entirely dominated by record amounts of rain, more than four times the seasonal average, leading to a delayed budbreak the second week of April. Immediately after a period of exceptionally warm and dry weather led to explosive shoot growth in the vineyard, requiring our entire workforce to keep up timely with the operations. In May though rain was back again in unprecedented quantity and frequency. While bringing temperatures back to the norm, it built up a high level of disease pressure, especially for downy mildew, which put the nerves of vine growers to the test for the rest of the growing season. Only through perfect organization and capacity to enter the vineyard for spraying in the few days without rain was it possible to get control of the disease keeping canopies and grapes healthy. Ornellaia’s soil management with frequent green covers between the rows proved once again hugely beneficial, not only by keeping vine vigour in check, but also helping to absorb excess water in the soil, allowing us to enter in the vineyards quickly after the rain.

Although budbreak had been late, the climatical conditions and the rapid shoot growth made the vines recover the delay and anticipate flowering by one full week. While lower than in May, rainfall remained higher than average all through June, keeping mildew active and aggressive.

July only barely gave us a rest with dry and hot weather. Véraison arrived quickly around the 22-25 July, before the vines had stopped growing. While colour changed very quickly in a few days, we observed great heterogeneity within the clusters with a significant number of pink, or even downright green berries.

 

HARVEST

August got almost as hot as 2017, but slightly rainier than average, with some significant storms around the 15 August, which occurred only in Bellaria, leaving the other vineyard areas of Ornellaia out, thus creating a significantly different ripening pattern for Bellaria. Sugars and acidity evolved at a slow pace, while – due to the high water status in the soils – berry sizes increased.  September saw beautiful and warm weather without rain. Temperatures where high for the season but cool nights allowed the vines to recover and preserve their flavours and acidity. Morning mist, only rarely observed in Bolgheri, was frequent in 2018, giving a decidedly autumn feel to the harvest. In order to keep the grapes healthy and help them take advantage of the ventilation we operated leaf removal earlier than usual.

 

THE WHITES

Harvest kicked off immediately after “Ferragosto” with the Sauvignon of the “milleviti” vines sprinkled around some of the red vineyards at Ornellaia. The difference between vineyard sites was extremely marked leading to the longest sauvignon harvest in Ornellaia’s history with the last grapes picked on the 13th September.  Viognier came in in the last days of August, while Vermentino and Verdicchio where picked in mid-September.

 

THE REDS

More than in any other vintage we observed a different ripening pattern of the different terroirs of the estate, leading to a long harvest, especially for Merlot, that was picked from the 31st August and finished between the 29 September.

Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot where harvested from the third decade of September on, Picking was briefly interrupted after a rain storm on first October but resumed with the oldest Cabernet vineyards after a few days of dry and windy weather.

 

In the cellar a few elements were critical to express the full potential of this vintage. In its third year of use, the optical sorting proved once again a precious tool, this year to remove all imperfectly coloured fruit, allowing to put only homogeneous and ripe berries into the tanks.

The large berry sizes lead us to frequently operate saignées on the tanks. To fully capture the tannin potential of the vintage, without extracting overly harsh and rustic tannins we went through long macerations of about four weeks with soft and moderately frequent pump overs, deciding how to operate on each single lot according to our daily tastings.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

After a challenging spring, conditions improved significantly during the summer, culminating in almost perfect weather during harvest which culminated towards the end of September and beginning of October – autumn rather than late summer.

While 2018 at an early stage does not appear to be an extraordinarily powerful vintage it displays good colour, an unusual aromatic quality with incredibly fresh, vibrant and pure aromatics that perfectly reflect the character of each varietal.  The tannins are already refined and silky with no hard edges, acidities are well balanced.

The whites are fragrant with moderate acidities, particularly for Sauvignon and Viognier. The later picked Vermentino look very promising with textbook flavours of yellow stone fruit and white flower.

Primarosa, Negroamaro Rosato Lizzano DOC Milleuna winery

The Milleuna winery located in the area of Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes production: Torricella, Sava, Maruggio. One of the first to re-evaluate the old, almost centenary, sapling vines, saving them from the outside for their low but valuable productivity and making them protagonists in the national and international wine-making scenario for the quality of the wines. Respect for nature and attention to treatments in the vineyard, reduced to a minimum, with copper and sulfur are characteristics that generate sensational wines.


Primarosa


It is a rosé wine obtained with the “salasso” technique from Negroamaro Lizzano DOC grapes whose vineyards are located near the sea on sandy soils with calcareous substrate.
Of a cherry-pink color, more or less intense in the nose it is fragrant, characteristic and to the palate it is dry, delicate.
It is a 100% Rosato Negroamaro Lizzano Doc. Particularly suitable to accompany second courses of fish, white meats and cheeses.

ANNO DOMNI WINE ESTATE “LE ARGILLE” CABERNET DI CABERNET2014

Strong, serious, unique, ages in concrete barrels two years , immaculate and free from barrel aromatic interference, so that its uniqueness is fully preserved along with its warm, refined, and mature taste.

This wine originate from vineyards of the Treviso countryside surrounded by the river Sile.

This wine is the result of a wise coupage of cabernet grapes, obtained through the Double Reasoned Maturation (DMR) technique, which is applied directly in the vineyard. This technique consists of clamping some branches before the grapes reach a complete maturation, so that the grapes start to age while still on the vine, resulting in a greater concentration of sugar that gives more structure and strength to the wine.

The winemaking is made by selected healthy grapes are crushed are then placed in small vats to ferment where we perform the maceration, that allows a maximum extraction of color and tannins, resulting in a harmonic, hot, persistent wine. The wine is then aged into cement vats for 24 months, after that our staff performs a sensory test, deciding when is the best time to bottle the wine. After the bottling the wine is then aged further for at least 6 months.

The colour is intense ruby red with and garnet highlights. The bouquet is very warm, complex, enveloping aroma, with perfume of mature berries especially blueberry. On a second moment hints of plum, black cherries and vanilla, at the end light nuances of tobacco, dark chocolate and green pepper.

In the mouth it is warm, elegant, mature, complex and important. The long ageing in cement preserves all the exquisite peculiar fl avor of the grapes, with notes of ripe berries, soft and pleasantly tannic. Long finish with a good aftertaste that calls for another glass.

In Gastronomic Matches this wine is a good conversation-meditation wine, excellent with strong meats like game and venison, meat stews and herby cheeses. It is also very good with fruit jam and desserts, particularly jam tarts and pastries.

AITNA BIANCO 2016 EDOME’ WINE ESTATE

The Etna volcano, inside an ancient extinct crater, in a district called “Feudo di Mezzo” on the north side of the Volcano, here is the vineyard of Edome’ wine estate, where the native vines of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio are raised as saplings, sustained with the traditional chestnut pole.
The old part of the vineyard consists of strains that have an average age of 80 years. They wanted to embrace the philosophy carried out in this territory by the ancient rural tradition, the small tree, the manual cultivation, the respect of the territory of Etna, the dry stone walls and the lava stone sunshades.
The sandy-volcanic territory, the typical thermal excursions of 700 m above sea level, a mountain territory, the harvest that is carried out by manual harvesting.
What comes out is easy to understand: a wine rich in essences and aromas, mineral notes, smell is ethereal, with hints of ripe fruit, spices, nuances of tobacco and vanilla with a dry, full, tannic, harmonious and persistent taste.

We tasted: AITNA BIANCO 2016 DOC

Aitna divinity venerated by the Etna, a wine named so ‘to honor the volcano Etna that generates it by choosing the tetradramma of Aitna as a symbol of the company.
The white Aitna DOC is produced with Carricante grapes cultivated with the ancient and traditional alberello system in the area of ​​S. Maria di Licodia at an altitude of 900 s.l.m. The Carricante is an ancient native wine of Etna that has always been almost exclusively cultivated on the slopes of Etna on its eastern side.
Straw-yellow with green hues, the nose is intense fruity with hints of apple. In the mouth it is dry slightly acidic and peristent. For food pairing this wine   is ideal with sea fish dishes.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2016 is on its way

 

Ideal temperatures and consistent ripening yield a textbook-perfect vintage

Ornellaia is proud to announce the release to international markets of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2016. Together with the 2015, this 2016 is among the most eagerly-awaited vintages, inasmuch as it is a superb expression of the Mediterranean character classic to Bolgheri and its climate.  

As what seems to be becoming increasingly the norm, the winter of 2016 was characterized by abnormally warm weather, with heavy rainfall in February. Budbreak was ideal, taking place on time in the last week of March, thanks largely to plentiful water reserves in the soil and to warm weather in April, which stimulated rapid, normal vine growth.

Towards May, temperatures returned to normal, slowing the growth down slightly, bringing about flowering in the last week of May, while dry, sunny weather led to good fruit-set. Summer brought very little rain, resulting in significant water stress towards the end of the ripening stage; the usual August storms were also absent, conditions that maintained water stress through the first part of the harvest. Luckily, temperatures cooled off significantly at night, allowing the vines to recover from the daytime heat. Ripening was consistent, building excellent phenolics in the grapes and balanced sugar/acidity ratios. Harvest started early, on 24 August, under near-perfect conditions–sunny, moderately warm, with enough water in the soil to prevent the vines from shutting down.

“Le Serre Nuove dell’ Ornellaia 2016 benefits again from an exceptional growing year that showcases all the features of Bolgheri’s exceptional climate,” commented Axel Heinz, Ornellaia Director and Winemaker. “Dark in colour, the wine displays an impressive nose of perfectly ripe red berryfruit and spices. The palate is rich and well-rounded with beautiful, velvet-textured tannins that coat the palate. Here is a wine that combines immediate pleasure and extraordinary ageing capacity.”

 

Bouzeron celebrates its 20th anniversary in November

First applied to the 1997 vintage, the Bouzeron appellation has had to wait until the end of 2018 to celebrate its 20th anniversary!
But the wait is deliberate, to allow the 15 winegrowers who have come together for the event to offer a tasting of the first and last vintages of Bouzeron, from 1997 and 2017.
This event, for specialist journalists and market influencers including wine store owners, sommeliers, and restaurateurs, will be showcased on the weekend of the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction, on Saturday 17 November from 3:00pm to 6:30pm, a stone’s throw from the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us, as the event is by personal invitation only.

Bouzeron is the only Bourgogne Village AOC that is produced from the Aligoté grape. This village on the steep slopes of the Côte Chalonnaise produces a wine that is pale in color with white blossom on the nose. In the mouth, its distinct roundness, structured body, and indulgent vigor, are the fruit of a perfect alchemy between a varietal and its terroir.

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