Category Archives: Italian wines

Monterosola, award-winning wines from ancient land

Situated on a plateau at 430 meters altitude, above two ancient, wooded valleys with far-reaching views to the coast. Monterosola “hill of poppies” is one of Tuscany’s finest contemporary wineries.

Resting on a hillside overlooking the medieval city of Volterra, the Monterosola estate combines traditional winemaking techniques with state-of-the art technology. Just 50km from the coastal region of Bolgheri and 30km from the world-famous hills of Chianti, Monterosola sits amidst some of the best wine growing locations in the world.

Monterosola has its own complex microclimate which provides vines with the optimum growing conditions. Here, a regular breeze promotes the natural health and energy of the vines, which, in turn, produce the very best grapes.

With 25 hectares of vineyards producing both white and red wines, the estate also has olive groves, woodlands, gardens, lakes and pastures.

A destination winery

The estate has been producing excellent wines since 2003 yet it entered an exciting era in 2013 when the land was purchased by the Thomaeus family who recognised the true potential of the terroir. In 2015 the family embarked on an impressive project, to design and build a grand-scale cantina with purpose-built facilities for wine tastings and events.

At Monterosola the wine production methods are supervised by Alberto Antonini who has previously worked with some of Italy’s most prestigious cantinas including Antinori and Frescobaldi.  

 

MASTIO

A beautiful rich ruby in colour with elements of ripe fruits on the nose with a hint of red cherry, strawberries almonds and green herbs. A well-balanced combination of elegance and intensity on the palate with soft tannins and a generous aftertaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 CRESCENDO

Deep garnet colour with flavours of rich cherries, dried herbs, sweet oak, spices, black tea and toasted almonds. Both intense and complex on the palate it is powerful yet refined with a lengthy finish. Crescendo has great aging potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 CASSERO

A sophisticated single variety Vermentino, straw yellow coloured with youthful green highlights. Enjoys an elegant and consistent aroma with hints of white flowers, grapefruit, pear, white peach and a pleasing minerality. Fresh and well balanced on the palate with a lingering light finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PRIMO PASSO

A warm light golden colour. Intense and elegant aromas come to the fore, ripe apricot, peach, citrus zest and minerality evolve into a hint of sweet spice. A generous, silky and balanced wine with an authentic personality. Remarkable aftertaste.

http://www.monterosola.com

Ornellaia & Masseto CEO Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja announces a new Sales and Marketing Director

Today, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of both the Ornellaia and Masseto estates, announced a change in the management team for the two wineries. Vianney Gravereaux will join the team as Sales and Marketing Director alongside Axel Heinz, Estate Director, as of 1 April 2021. Tim Banks, who has held the position to date, will return to France, where he will continue to work in the wine world.

After nine years of close collaboration, Tim Banks receives a warm farewell: “I thank Tim personally for his professional contribution to the company’s success as well as his personal contribution in forming a team and relations, for which he will not be forgotten easily,” confirms Giovanni Geddes. “At the same time, I am delighted to continue this journey with Vianney. I’m certain that we will achieve new goals together.”

Vianney Gravereaux, French by birth but multilingual by vocation, has vast international experience in the fine wine world, which he honed while working for globally renowned brands such as Philipponnat, Salon and Peugeot Saveurs. Formerly International Sales Manager for Masseto, Gravereaux was asked to take on the new role, an offer which he has enthusiastically embraced: “When I visited Ornellaia a few years ago, I was astounded by the exceptional quality of the wines and the place where they are made. I never thought that I would become part of the impressive Masseto team in 2020 and that, only a year later, I would have been offered the role of Sales and Marketing Director for both estates. Continuing the work carried out by Tim Banks will be an exciting challenge, which I cannot wait to begin.”

Ornellaia’s current team consists of winemaker Olga Fusari and Brand Manager Greta Roscioni; Eleonora Marconi and Susanne Weber hold these positions respectively at Masseto. Elena Oprea is the Communications Manager across both brands.

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019

 

Vibrant and expressive, released on 1st March

Many components define the style of Ornellaia, the renowned Bolgheri estate, but the underlying philosophy is reflected in all the wines produced on the estate. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is no exception. A predominantly Merlot-based cuvée, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 is “a vibrant, expressive and well-balanced wine, the perfect introduction to Ornellaia for every wine lover”,according to estate director,Axel Heinz.

2019 was characterized by a highly variable climate, which alternated cold and wet spells with long bouts of drought and heat. After a normal winter, budbreak took place in the first week of April. The rainy conditions throughout April and May slightly delayed flowering compared to usual, but plant development recovered in June due to bright days. All summer long, the weather remained hot and sunny, except for two days of rain in late July, which readjusted the temperature to the seasonal norm with ideal conditions for the gradual and complete ripening of the grapes.

The harvest began with the Merlot on 5th September and the last of the Cabernet reached the cellar on 4th October. As usual, in the last week of September, falling temperatures preserved the vintage’s finesse and aromatic freshness. The different grapes were fermented separately in small steel tanks in order to maintain their varietal characteristics. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barriques used previously for Ornellaia and partly in concrete tanks.

Versatile and immediate, “Le Volte dell’Ornellaia combines a Mediterranean expression of generosity with structure and complexity,” winemaker Olga Fusari comments. “With its bright ruby red, intense scents of red berries and rose petals are clearly distinguishable on the nose, while on the palate the taste is full-bodied and enveloping, characterized by dense tannins and a vibrant acidity which make this a pleasing and enjoyable wine”. Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2019 will be available on all markets, ready to bring joy to wine lovers on these early sun-filled days.

Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” Red coral for the artist’s interpretation of the vintage’s character

Jan Fabre for Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista

“The 2018 vintage resulted in wines of particular harmony,” comments Axel Heinz, Estate Director of the Bolgheri winery. “Synergy and interaction among the varied terroirs on the estate created proportion and complexity. The outcome is a rounded and silky wine in which all the elements blend together in an expression of grace and beauty.” In tribute to this sense of proportion and symmetry, Axel Heinz has called the character of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”.

Belgian artist Jan Fabre was called upon to interpret this trait in his role as an eclectic and innovative figure on the international art scene. Continually seeking convergences across a range of disciplines, Fabre offers an original and personal interpretation of visual art, taking cues from theatre, literature and the world of symbolism.

Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” is the expression of a perfectly balanced vintage. After unusually hot, dry seasons, the earth finally received the rainfall and winter cold needed to rest and reset the vine’s lifecycle. The spring enjoyed occasional showers, which renewed the protective layer of the vineyard, while the summer proved dry, encouraging fruit set and culminating in veraison on clear, sunny days in late July. Healthy grapes benefitting from a superb balance of acidity and sugars were harvested between 31 August and 8 October.

Taking inspiration from Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia” as a “divine gift of nature and a balance of symmetry and proportion,” Jan Fabre used his trademark style and coral, the precious golden red of the Gulf of Naples, for the sculptures that top three Salmanazars (9 litres): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Kindness, and The Heart of Virtue. “I believe that art should conciliate ethical values and aesthetic principles,” explains the Belgian artist. “For this reason, I decided to use forms such as the heart, crown, candle and wings in the sculptures for Ornellaia 2018. These are symbols of passion, virtue and purity, which come alive by means of twigs and red coral pearls; in “A Candle of Mercy” or “The Heart of Virtue” they liquefy, like the melting grace of Ornellaia wine.”

In addition to the coral artworks for the 111 precious large formats of Ornellaia, Jan Fabre has also designed a special label for the 750ml bottles and a site-specific installation for the winery’s dining room Orciaia: a set of drawings inspired by the sculptures and their symbolism.

Accompanied by the other large formats, only one of the three Salmanazars of Ornellaia 2018 “La Grazia”, which was named by the artist “The Crown of Kindness”, will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in September 2021. Collectors around the world will be able to place bids online on the lots and have their purchases delivered directly from the evocative Bolgheri winery.

For the third consecutive year, profits will be given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” project.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine says: “This is our 13th partnership with Ornellaia for their annual Vendemmia d’Artista project, which is so special to us because it supports worthy artistic causes and combines the brilliance of the estate’s wines with the visual ingenuity of the artists who take part. With its emphasis on the senses, the Mind’s Eye project has been the ideal beneficiary these past three years. We look forward to offering a range of bottles from the 2018 vintage “La Grazia”, illustrated by Jan Fabre, in our online sale later this year, headlined, as ever, by a unique Salmanazar. As in previous years, we expect the lots to attract an international group of bidders who wish to purchase these exclusive bottles and enjoy unique experiences.”

The profits made by Vendemmia d’Artista allow the Mind’s Eye program to be extended both on site at the Guggenheim as well as online and ensure that its excellence continues to guide museum programming in different parts of the world.

“With the continued support of Ornellaia, the Guggenheim has been able to amplify the reach and resonance of our Mind’s Eye program,” said Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “Ornellaia has helped us remain connected to our visitors through increased access programming and the creation of a new digital sensory guide that shares the experience of being at the museum with an ever-widening global audience. We speak for the many beneficiaries of Ornellaia’s generosity in expressing real gratitude.”

Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of the Bolgheri winery says: “Since the introduction of Vendemmia d’Artista project in 2009, we have donated more than 2 million euros. It is deeply rewarding to see the program develop and know that the work we are doing gives the blind and persons with low vision an opportunity to discover contemporary art through the use of the senses. At the same time, the Mind’s Eye program will soon offer the possibility to extend the same model not only to other museums belonging to the Guggenheim Foundation, but also to art institutions in the rest of the world, thereby making art accessible to even more people.”

2020: the year that changed the world? The story of an extraordinary vintage in the words of Axel Henz

 

2020 will remain in the history books for many reasons, first and foremost for all the emergencies caused by Covid-19, which put the whole world on standby for several weeks. Also from a winemaking point of view, there will be plenty to remember: a dynamic year, full of climate-related twists that maintained an incredible level of suspense until the final days of the harvest. In a few years’ time, 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered as another fine vintage for Bolgheri wines.

Axel Heinz, Estate Director, reports the vintage in his own words:

FIRST, QUIET, THEN THE COVID “STORM”

Nothing in the winter foretold a vintage so different than usual, except for the repeated mild and rainy climate, with temperatures rarely close to 0°C. Nevertheless, at the beginning of March, we just managed to finish the winter vineyard work and to bottle Le Volte dell’Ornellaia before the national lockdown was enforced. Fortunately, the buds took their time and broke in the last week of the month, giving the Ornellaia team time to prepare and organize our work in utmost safety.

A MAGNIFICENT SPRING, TIME OF SERENITY

In April, Mother Nature seemed to want to compensate for the difficulties of the lockdown, gifting the vineyards with textbook conditions until the end of May, with hot, mostly dry days. The vines grew regularly, allowing the leaves to be pruned without too much haste. The flowering and fruit set occurred in perfect conditions during the last week of May. June, on the other hand, proved very wet, accelerating the growth of the vines and upping the pressure for plant treatments. The bunches grew substantially at this time and considerable vineyard management was required to keep the foliage under control.

JULY AND AUGUST: THE LEGEND OF THE BOLGHERI SUMMER IS A FACT

July was hot and dry, essential for initiating the veraison, which developed slowly and punctually towards the end of the month. In August, the temperatures increased further, totalling 47 days above 30°C for the entire season, with frequent highs of 36-37°C, making this summer comparable with 2015.

As we could have expected, the first samples of Sauvignon Blanc at the beginning of August already showed a high sugar concentration, which gave rise to predictions of an early harvest. Fortunately, the high daytime temperatures also dipped under 20°C at night, allowing the grapes to develop their aromatic potential and maintain good acidity.

Meanwhile, the red grapes continued to ripen slowly, creating an interesting phenolic potential. At the end of August, rain arrived in time to alleviate the excessive water stress and lower the temperatures. During the Merlot harvest, the temperatures dipped to 14-15°C at night, perfect for gathering these grapes at the height of their perfume and energy.

HARVEST: ONLY THE RAIN CAN STOP US

The first bunches of Sauvignon Blanc were harvested on 13 August, finishing with the final berries on 25 August. The Viognier harvest saw similar times, from 14 to 28 August, showing moderate sugar levels and excellent acidity. For the reds, the harvest commenced on 3 September with the youngest Merlot vines.

In mid-September, a sudden change occurred: a heatwave shortly before the Merlot and Vermentino harvest had been completed. The sugar levels increased and the berries started to become concentrated, accelerating the ripening. In many vineyards, the harvest had to be carried out in two stages: separating the healthy fruit from the grapes burnt by the sun. The Cabernet was harvested immediately after the Merlot, a rare event for Ornellaia, as too was the simultaneous harvesting of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

A second wave of rain, this time longer, granted a moment of rest for the team during the harvest, which resumed at the end of September, ending earlier than usual, on 3 October. The late harvest of the Petit Manseng noble grapes, used to make the estate’s dessert wine, took place a week later, concluding on 9 October.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE WINES: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

I can certainly say that 2020 will be a successful vintage for all Ornellaia wines,” Axel Heinz concludes his vintage report. 

Given the particularly hot summer, the white grapes were harvested early to preserve their aromas and freshness. The Sauvignon Blanc is very balanced, with moderate alcohol, fresh and juicy acidity, and magnificent expressions of ripe tropical fruit. The Vermentino and Viognier are rich and floral, also showing good energy, while the Petit Manseng achieved concentration levels rarely seen before.

The reds are very promising, with a rich and structured style. The Merlot has a smooth texture and great intensity of fully ripened red fruit, without being heavy. The Cabernet Sauvignon, in some cases, is still fermenting, but early samples reveal wines with a regal poise, darkly hued, with classic notes of plants and blackcurrants, and dense and solid tannins.

It’s no longer a secret that Bolgheri is one of the best places to grow Cabernet Franc, but the level reached with the 2020 vintage remains astounding. Rich and dense, with refined tannins, it literally explodes into notes of blackcurrants, violets and delicate plant aromas.

Tenuta Luce The Luce harvest 2020 Grapes with perfect maturation

 

The yield 2020 is in the cellar. Unique like all the previous vintages, with grapes of high quality.
“Winter was largely dry and mild, conditions that ushered in an early but even budbreak, beginning in the second week of March for Sangiovese and the third week for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A sunny spring, with some rainfall in May, set the stage for a slightly early but excellent flowering around 25 May, followed by a rapid fruit-set. Summer proved hot and sunny, with almost no rainfall, but sporadic rain in the first three weeks in June had the beneficial effect of preparing the vines to cope well with heat, and the result was a welcome gradual ripening.  In the final week of August, two spells of rain gave relief to the vines and lowered temperatures, allowing the vines to fully complete the ripening process. The harvesting of the first Merlot parcels for Lucente began on 3 September, followed on 10 September with the Merlot for Luce. The grapes were sound and healthy, with ideal ripeness levels; they also showed significant aromatic qualities, thanks to wide day-night temperature differentials over the final weeks of the harvest. We stated picking the Sangiovese on 16 September, and continued through the last week in September. On 30 September, illuminated by a brilliant sun, picking of the Cabernet Sauvignon dedicated to Lux Vitis brought the harvest to a triumphant close.” – Lamberto Frescobaldi
Passion, in a particular year like this, is a modality used all days at Tenuta Luce, in each activity in vineyard and cellar.
Tenuta Luce, founded at the beginning of the 1990s, is an 88 hectares estate of well-tended vineyards located in Montalcino. Thanks to the farsightedness of the owners, the Frescobaldi family, Tenuta Luce brings to life unique wines, bearing the extraordinary qualities of its territory combined with its strong personality. In a short period of time it has risen to be ranked among the most renowned wineries in Tuscany.Its portfolio consists of the standard-bearer Luce, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary with vintage 2017; the second vin Lucente; the Luce Brunello as tribute to Montalcino’s oenological tradition, and few precious bottles of Lux Vitis, a Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Sangiovese.

2020 Harvest underway. How are Italy’s most representative varieties faring?

24 September 2020.  Italy’s harvest is at the halfway point, and we asked, “How are they doing?” about the Country’s most classic grapes.

Vermentino. This grape variety is the very symbol of seaside and vacation, but Italian viticulture offers some quite sophisticated interpretations of it. In Sardinia, where it is one of the principal varieties, Siddùra (37 hectares of vineyard) offers outstanding testimony, with three different Vermentino expressions in rising complexity, Spèra, Maìa, and Bèru. “We picked most of our Vermentino in the first two weeks of September,” reports Director Massimo Ruggero. “Then the temperatures dropped, and we had a couple of brief spells of rain, so we waited a few days, then concluded the harvest on 21 September.” The clusters were sound and healthy, with fine acidities, qualities required to produce a Vermentino that will age well. “The crop level was on a par with previous vintages. Our climate is hot and dry, which Vermentino likes, hydration was always sufficient except for the hottest weeks in July and August, which required focused action to ensure proper soil irrigation”.

Pinot Bianco. Pinot Bianco is another important grape, this time in northern Italy, where, at the foot of the Alps, it achieves rare elegance. Cantina Kaltern (450 hectares of vineyards), one of the largest producers in the Alto Adige region, is approaching the end of its harvest. Technical director Andrea Moser admits that rains in August constituted the main challenge this season, but he says, “I am satisfied with the Pinot Bianco we have brought in so far, particularly the lots that will go into our cru Vial. I am already anticipating a Pinot Bianco of remarkable sapidity. In fact, the lots of fruit that we waited to bring in show textbook ripeness, so they should give us really age-worthy Pinot Biancos.”

Sangiovese. Tuscany’s “royal variety” is the protagonist of some of Italy’s most famous reds: Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, and many renowned IGTs. At Castello di Brolio (240 hectares of vineyard), the Sangiovese harvest started mid September. In the words of Francesco Ricasoli, “We started picking our Sangiovese slightly earlier than the norm. Currently, we’ve brought into the cellar the earliest-ripening parcels and some of our finest cru vineyards, such as Roncicone. Colledilà is almost ready, while the parcels that go to produce CeniPrimo will be harvested at the beginning of October. The Sangiovese is perfectly healthy, thanks to lovely heat in the first half of September.”

Also at Tenuta Luce (88 hectares of vineyard), one of Montalcino’s leading estates, the Sangiovese-harvest has already kicked off. “It is important to be ready to pick at just the right moment,” explains Marchese Lamberto Frescobaldi. “We started harvesting our Sangiovese on 18 September, but we will wait a few more days for the clusters dedicated to the cru of Luce Brunello. We are very positive: the fruit is healthy and shows a great aromatic potential. We fully believe that 2020 will be a beautiful vintage for our Brunello of Tenuta Luce.”

In the Tuscan Maremma, on the other hand, the Sangiovese harvest is completed” Yes, the temperatures in August were certainly high,” admitted Ettore Rizzi, owner and production manager at Fattoria Le Pupille (80 hectares under vine), an area leader that has made Maremma and its Morellino famous worldwide. “But we also had cool nights and consistent breezes. We began picking a bit early, and exercised rigorous quality-selection in the vineyard. That paid off, with beautiful, crisp fruit and good phenolic ripeness, very promising conditions for both our Morellino di Scansano and for our well-known cru, Poggio Valente.”

Nebbiolo. Another lead actor on the Italian wine stage is, of course, Nebbiolo, which in Piedmont’s Langhe district makes the revered Barolo and Barbaresco. Pio Cesare (75 hectares of vineyard) is counting down to the harvest. Reports Federica Boffa, fifth-generation owner, “Our Nebbiolos are approaching full ripeness, a point we expect them to reach in about ten days. The sugar levels are excellent, and the components of physiological ripeness are lining up nicely. We should begin harvesting in the first days of October, a bit earlier than in recent seasons.”

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & Co. The international varieties have long found in Italy their ideal habitat and yield world-class expressions in certain areas that are now their “home.” Among the iconic producers is Masseto (11 hectares in vines) whose same-named wine is a legend among wine lovers, and Bolgheri-based Ornellaia (115 hectares of vineyard), whose vineyards are a byword for utmost attention and sustainable viticulture. “2020 is great example of the now- unpredictable nature of our weather, “observes Axel Heinz, director of both wine estates. “We have had to deal with challenges on various fronts: a spell of high heat and periods of cooler temperatures and rain. The Merlot is already in the cellar, since we finished picking that variety on 15 September. We are now in the process of picking the first clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The grapes are gorgeous, ripe, with terrific quality.”

Also located in Tuscany, in the enchanted Val d’Orcia’s Sarteano, is Tenuta di Trinoro (23 hectares in vineyard), whose owner, Andrea Franchetti, is still waiting patiently to bring in his Merlot. “September’s waxing moon is coaxing our Merlot into the final stage of ripeness,” he says. “I go out into the vineyard every morning to taste the berries, just to measure the progress they’ve made overnight.” As far as the Cabernet is concerned, though, “We’re still going to have wait a good bit.”

In Trentino, at San Leonardo (30 hectares in vineyard), Marchese Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga too is quite happy with the Merlot he has brought in. “It’s still too early to pronounce an in-depth judgment, but we’re quite confident regarding quality, since the technical figures all line up so well: excellent acidities, solid pH, and moderate sugars, so all this should ensure elegant, crisp wines, which are precisely the hallmarks of our San Leonardo.” Here, too, the Cabernet is waiting for the autumn sun to bring it to final ripeness.

Pinot Noir. This variety may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of Italian viticulture, but the challenging Pinot Noir grape has found a home here too, and in some growing areas delivers sublime wines. One of these is certainly Lombardy’s Oltrepò Pavese, on whose gently-rolling hills Conte Vistarino (200 hectares of vineyards) has been cultivating Pinot Noir since the mid-1800s, producing a line almost exclusively composed of this noble variety. “Out Pinot Noirs have been in for two weeks now, and they are now fermenting,” reports Ottavia Vistarino. “We started on 19 August with the grapes for our sparkling wines, then it was the turn of our red wines, including our crus Pernice, Bertone, and Tavernetto. We were particularly fortunate this year to see a good balance between crop and canopy, which means that the alcohol levels will be contained and the results elegant and refined.”

Nerello Mascalese. The iconic variety of Mount Etna, which makes one of Sicily’s most sought-after wines, is one of the last-harvested grapes. At Passopisciaro (26 hectares of vineyard), one of the very first producers to divine the quality potential of this particular Sicilian terroir, the berries are looking fine indeed and ripeness is proceeding apace, thanks to end-of-summer heat and day-night temperature differentials that vary as much as 20o. Director Vincenzo Lo Mauro exudes positivity: “If weather conditions continue this way, we’ll start picking towards the end of October.” Contrada Rampante, the estate’s highest vineyard area, will be in all likelihood the last to be harvested, but as Lo Mauro, with more than 20 harvests under his belt, underscores, every season speaks its own unique language, and in the world of wine, perhaps more so than in others, one never stops learning.

And how could we argue?

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018: A classic wine from a classic vintage

 

Ornellaia presents the 2018 vintage of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, the second vin produced by the Bolgheri estate and an accomplished wine, appreciated by connoisseurs around the world. 

 

The first vintage of this prized cuvée was in 1997 and, year after year, this wine has established itself as a leading expression of its appellation, Bolgheri Rosso DOC. 

 

The character and personality, which vaunt the signature style and savoir-faire of Ornellaia, combine promising ageing potential and inherent amiability. In this latest vintage, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia exhibits aromatic complexity and beguiling tannins, reminding us of the Bolgheri wines from the 2013 and 2010 vintages.

 

2018 benefitted from balanced conditions with spring rainfall, abundantly restocking the water table that had been put to the test during the previously hot summer. After a wet spring, the mild and sunny summer escorted the grapes through to the harvesting weeks in almost perfect conditions. The sugar and acidity developed slowly and the grapes, aided by the well-hydrated soil, reached the right dimensions. September saw high temperatures during the day and cooler conditions at night, which enabled the grapes to preserve their aromas. “After a number of dry years, the conditions in 2018 gave a decidedly autumnal touch to the harvest, the perfect premise for a particularly balanced vintage of great aromatic complexity.”

 

Each individual parcel of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was harvested and vinified separately. After the first 12 months of refinement in barriques, the wine was blended before ageing for a further three months in wood and subsequently bottled as Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia.

 

Winemaker Olga Fusari describes it as a “wine of great aromatic complexity, a distinguishing feature of the vintage. Amidst aromas of berries, blackberries, raspberries and red cherries, floral overtones of eglantine unfurl alongside spiced notes of pink pepper and liquorice. This is a charming and well balanced Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, well structured, with a crisp and flavourful finish.

 

As we wait for the debut of Ornellaia 2018 expected in the spring, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018 reveals the hallmarks of this vintage, while providing intense pleasure by the glass in a promise of joy and evolution over time. A classic wine from a classic vintage that fully expresses the Bolgheri DOC territory.

12th edition of ORNELLAIA VENDEMMIA D’ARTISTA

Sotheby’s to auction artistic bottles designed by Tomás Saraceno

From 1st to 9th September, 12 prized lots of
Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” will be auctioned online

In support of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s
access program “Mind’s Eye”.

Sotheby’s online auction will commence on the 1st of September for the prized bottles of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” (translated in English as “Radiant”) designed by the Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno, renowned internationally for his interactive installations that allude to new sustainable ways of living on our planet in this age of ecological turmoil.

“We are delighted to collaborate on our tenth auction with Ornellaia’s exceptional Vendemmia d’Artista programme, having enjoyed spectacular events over the past decade in New York, Hong Kong, London, Toronto, Basel, Los Angeles and Venice. For the second consecutive year, the special auction celebrating the 2017 “Solare” will be offered online. The sublime marriage of art and wine in these unique large format bottles is a winning combination that will prove enticing to collectors around the world,” comments Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.

“We are grateful to Ornellaia for their continued involvement in the visual arts and their support of the Mind’s Eye’s program offered both on-site and online,” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation stated. “Thanks to the generosity of Ornellaia, we are able to expand the programs that allow us to promote the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art to a wider public.”

 

The issue of environment sustainability is particularly dear to Ornellaia, which has focused on self-sustaining ecosystems for some time now through precision agriculture. Due to this attention to the soil management, gentle handling of the grapes and a slightly earlier harvest, Ornellaia 2017 is a wine of surprising harmony. Axel Heinz, director of the Bolgheri estate, explains, “In this year of extremes, in which frost, sun and drought all played a decisive role, we succeeded in bringing blackberry and liquorice to the wine, alongside the velvety tannins typical of hot vintages; at the same time, superb envelopment and acidity instil Mediterranean sumptuousness in the wine.”

Simultaneously, in creating the artwork dedicated to the radiance of Ornellaia 2017, Tomás Saraceno sought inspiration in the alliance between the Sun and populated systems of life. The estate’s site-specific installation, which will be installed on the estate, will consist in glass spheres that, resembling clouds, form a magical floating city ideally powered by the heat of the sun. A take on this concept is the sculpture, titled “PNEUMA 4.21×105”, which tops the impressive 9-litre Salmanazar, the most prestigious lot at the auction. The artist has personalized in total 111 large-format bottles, depicting the various phases of a solar eclipse, in addition to crafting a special label, which will uniquely feature in every box containing six 750ml bottles of Ornellaia. All the labels are thermo-chromic and change colour with the heat of one’s hand, inviting to reflection about the impact of humanity on the planet.

These works of wine and art will be auctioned online on Sotheby’s website from 1st to 9th of September. All those who register on www.sothebys.com/ornellaia will be able to view the lots, leave a bid and take part in the auction. Collectors from around the world can bid for a piece of this incredible collection, while also extending a gesture of generosity. Like last year, profits from the auction will go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to support the “Mind’s Eye” program.

“In the last 11 years,” explains CEO of Ornellaia, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaia, “Ornellaia has donated over two million dollars to various institutions in the art world, from the Whitney Museum in New York to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Fondation Beyeler near Basel, the Royal Opera House in London and the H2 Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Starting in 2019, we wished to make a contribution to the development of artistic perception by the blind and visually impaired, which is why we decided to support the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ program.”

 

 

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018

Mediterranean elegance and the colour of light

One of the estate’s established wines, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018 has just finished a year of bottle refinement and is ready to dazzle even the most discerning palates. Consisting mainly of Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Vermentino and Viognier, this white wine by Ornellaia elegantly embraces the estate style in a more approachable manner.

 

“Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018 boasts a sumptuous structure and luminous straw yellow colour,” comments the estate’s winemaker Olga Fusari. “This vintage, which started with rain but finished with sunshine, distinguished itself with an extended and slightly later harvest. We sense the result in the overtones of exotic fruit, accompanied by white peach and delicate vanilla nuances. The wine is generous and smooth on the palate, in addition to having standout opulence and richness, which makes for a refreshing and enduring finish”.

 

After a hot vintage like 2017, 2018 reinvigorates and soothes with its cold winter months and considerable spring rainfall. The Mediterranean microclimate worked its magic in July, providing dry, sunny days. In turn, the cooler September nights enabled the vines to regain and preserve their aromas and acidity. These perfect conditions permitted the Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier harvest to begin on 16 August and continue until mid-September. Vermentino bunches were delivered to the cellar between 17 and 25 September. 

 

To achieve such elegant and complex wines in the Ornellaia style, the quality of the grapes is essential. Equally important are the care taken and the techniques employed in the cellar during vinification and refinement. First selected in the vineyard and again in the cellar, the grapes are gently pressed, and the ensuing must is moved partly into new and used barriques, and partly into steel and concrete vats. The wine alternates between ageing on the fine lees with regular batonnage for six months, which is an important step in crafting the character of Ornellaia whites. Finally, every single parcel is tasted and calibrated for the final blend, which rests in the bottle for a year. “Our Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia is an expressive wine with an enjoyable complexity as soon as it is released to market,” explains estate director Axel Heinz. “That doesn’t make it predictable: the wine’s opulence and richness, hallmarks of the Tuscan coast, bestow depth and an ability to stand the test of time”.

 

Regardless of whether it is enjoyed soon or set aside for a while, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia encapsulates the sunlight of the land, to which this wine owes its unmistakable Mediterranean character. The unique microclimate of the estate, an authentic gift of nature, becomes a rich and juicy white with a lively vein of acidity, a product of the sea breeze along the Tuscan coast which caresses and nourishes the vines.

 

The name ORNELLAIA is synonymous of fine winemaking and an authentic expression of the beauty of Tuscany. The estate is situated along the Tuscan coastline, a short distance from the medieval town of Bolgheri and the iconic cypress-lined approach. Ornellaia Bolgheri DOC Superiore and Ornellaia Bianco are the estate’s top wines, ensued by the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia and the white Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. In little over thirty years (the first vintage of Ornellaia was in 1985), the team’s dedication accompanied by optimal soil and microclimate has resulted in critical acclaim and public success within Italy and internationally. 

 

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