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Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg for Ornellaia Vendemmia D’Artista 2019 “Il Vigore”

Charity auction supporting the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” program

From 5th to 19th October 2022

The charity auction of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2019 “Il Vigore” organized by Sotheby’s gets underway from 5th to 19th October. Swedish artists Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg designed this vintage’s special labels and this year’s proceeds will once more go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the “Mind’s Eye” program.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine says: “This is our twelve 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. We look forward to presenting a range of bottles from the 2019 vintage “Il Vigore” later this year, headlined, as ever, by a unique Salmanazar. With its emphasis on the senses, the Mind’s Eye program has been the ideal beneficiary and, as in previous years, we expect these exclusive bottles to attract international interest from collectors eager to also enjoy the unique experiences on offer.”

Since 2019, the proceeds from the Vendemmia d’Artista charity auction have been donated to support this innovative program, which was created by the Guggenheim’s education department to help the blind and low-vision visitors to experiment with art by the fullest use of the senses.

This enables the development of creative impressions, emotional connections and lasting memories. As in all the arts, the appreciation of fine wines also necessitates the total engagement of the senses. Sharing this idea caused Ornellaia to support the growth of this innovative program.

Ornellaia’s generosity has provided for the expansion of Mind’s Eye, connecting participants across the globe through virtual programs, states Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum. “In the last three years, our knowledge has allowed Guggenheim New York to increase accessibility both to the museum and to works of art through multi-sensorial exploration. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Ornellaia.”

The Guggenheim stands out as an innovative institution for its commitment to accessibility and building the Mind’s Eye Community. Digitalization has enabled Mind’s Eye to reach a vast public from many countries around the world through its Sensory Guide to the Guggenheim New York or through Verbal Descriptions that use specific language to convey a visual experience for artworks and the unique architecture of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed building. 

The proceeds raised have allowed the program to be extended to the two other museums in the Guggenheim constellation, Venice and Bilbao, hence bestowing international prestige on the program.

For this reason, Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of the Ornellaia estate, is excited to state: “Since the beginning of Vendemmia d’Artista in 2009, we have donated the proceeds from the auction to charity. It is immensely rewarding to see the project grow internationally and to know that the work we are doing gives the blind and low-vision persons the possibility to explore contemporary art through the senses. This sensibility has always been a key part of our philosophy.”

The genius loci of Bolgheri in the bright reflections of Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2020

Ornellaia is proud to present the 2020 vintage of Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia, which is enhanced by the Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia Ambassadors project that pays tribute to its relationship with the sea and land to which it belongs.

In Tuscany, wine is often regarded as red by definition. “And yet”, Axel Heinz, Estate Director, explains “with a clear vision, patient research into the best soil and aspect, a suitable selection of the varieties to be planted and a constant commitment to cultivating the vines with care and attention, we are certain that the genius loci of this unique land can also be conveyed in the straw yellow colour of our white wines.”

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia owes its elegant Mediterranean style to the special microclimate that distinguishes the estate.

The 2020 vintage was characterized by a rainy yet mild winter. The budbreak occurred later than usual, shielding the vines from any frost damage. A still wet June was followed by a hot, dry summer. The harvest took place earlier, in the first half of August for the Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Verdicchio, while we were able to wait until September for the perfect ripening of the Vermentino. “The earlier harvest and the absence of particular water stress, due to the water reserves accumulated in June, enabled the grapes to convey all their hallmark aromas, especially the Sauvignon Blanc,Axel Heinz remarked. 

The winemaking and ageing must support the balance that distinguishes Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia, without distorting it, in addition to accentuating the texture, without making it heavier. In so doing, the bright colours and refined aromas are kept intact.

The practical winemaking choices are aimed at acquiring additional balance, layers of complexity that allow the wine to withstand the test of time and reveal its deepest soul and the ultimate expression of the terroir with the passing of the years.

The wine is made by gently pressing the grapes, followed by the decision to decant and allow half the wine to age in steel tanks, while the remaining half ages in barriques. The wine subsequently spends six months on the lees with bâtonnage.

The winemaker Olga Fusari, who is particularly attached to Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia and who has witnessed the revival in conjunction with its maiden vintage led by Ornellaia’s technical team, explains. “With its bright straw yellow colour, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2020 displays beautiful aromatic complexity on the nose: woodland and white flowers, accompanied by white peach, sage and herbal notes, are released in the glass. On tasting, the wine fills the palate with elegance and decisiveness, showing the right balance between freshness, acidity and density. The finish is vibrant, lasting and on the savoury side.” 

The release of the 2020 vintage is also accompanied by the Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia Ambassadors project. This initiative is devoted to the Mediterranean Sea and Italian excellence. The ambassadors, who come from all over the peninsula and beyond, having been selected for their creativity and the quality of their cuisine, have created recipes that pair perfectly with Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. The chefs that have taken part to this project are Daniele and Andrea Zazzeri, La Pineta in Marina di Bibbona, Gennaro Esposito, La Torre del Saracino in Vico Equense, Andrea Migliaccio and Salvatore Elefante, Il Riccio in Capri, Emanuele Riccobono, Ristorante Zagara in Sciacca, Pietro d’Agostino, La Capinera in Taormina, Enzo Florio, Da Tuccino in Polignano a Mare, Roberto Gatto, Cip’s Club in Venice, Domenico Soranno, Langosteria in Paraggi e infine Antonio Colaianni, Ristorante Ornellaia in Zurich. Their dishes reflect the same salinity of the sea that can be found in Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia, which has always borne witness to the evolution of mankind and its connection with a land that yields the centuries-old wisdom of time and patience.

Masseto 2018: the sublime fragility of the soil and humankind’s intuition

The estate presents Masseto 2018

The elegant and silky texture of a one-of-a-kind wine

It is said that the expectation of a pleasure represents a pleasure in itself, but the peak is the instant in which it is finally reached, when desire is transformed into reality. Finally, after years of refinement, Masseto 2018 is released on the market, with a deep olfactory intensity that flows in the silky texture of this wine.

Humankind, the soil, and the vineyard: these are the three determining elements for the success of this  wine that has established itself as among the most respected in Italy and in the world.

Masseto was born from the intuition of taking a chance on difficult land and seeing its great potential. Estate Director, Axel Heinz, describes it as “an unspoiled, harsh and austere place, that’s not at all easy to work. The conditions are extreme, yet this vineyard never fails to amaze us. It’s truly a magical place where nature makes the most important decisions”.

The will is to interpret the spirit of nature and then let it express itself without limits, because everything revolves around the extraordinary – and at the same time demanding – vineyard. The expert hands of those who love every single plant and know its soul in depth are the ones that lead it. All of this obtains a wine without any coercing, accompanied by actions in the cellar that are as limited as possible in order to obtain its maximum expression.

Masseto 2018 is a wine that perfectly reflects terroir and vintage.

After a season of drought in 2017, winter 2018 seemed to indicate a return to normal, but one of the wettest springs in Masseto’s history, with higher than average temperatures, led to rapid vegetative growth with the risk of diseases. Only the timing of the team made it possible to keep firm control of the vines through the thinning of the shoots and the correct positioning of the foliar apparatus. Thanks to the skillful interplay between shadow and light obtained, both leaves and grapes remained healthy.

The 2018 harvest was the first to find its home entirely in the new cellar dug deep into the blue clay soil on which the vineyard stands, between walls that represent a physical and symbolic tribute to the history of the estate and to the intuition of those who believed in it. The double sorting table enabled the selection of only the most perfect grapes. Fermentation took place in concrete tanks, with the malolactic fermentation beginning in new oak barrels in separate batches for the first 12 months, then blended and left to rest in barrels for a further year.

Masseto 2018 amazes with an infinite salinity that fills each sip. Likewise, there is no sign of excess in the expression of a perfect balance between fullness and harmony that reveals the profound belonging to a terroir with an unmistakable identity.

A symphony of aromatic notes tinged with berries is woven into a refined texture. “Perfectly ripe cherries, plums and spiced new oak. The palate is broad and rich, revealing a refined and silky body derived from the 2018 vintage“, elaborates Axel Heinz, who calls it “a particularly elegant version that combines richness and finesse”.

Soon a new address in Bordeaux for Masseto, Ornellaia, Tenuta Luce and CastelGiocondo

Masseto, Ornellaia, Tenuta Luce and CastelGiocondo are opening a representative office in the city of Bordeaux, aimed at strengthening their worldwide sales network, starting with the French stronghold of fine wines. 

The prestigious Tuscan estates are set to open a representative office in 2022

The first wine estates in Italy to make such an investment.

Masseto, in 2009, was the first Italian wine to be distributed through La Place de Bordeaux. Ornellaia followed suit in 2015. In the wake of their success, in 2019 Tenuta Luce and in 2021 CastelGiocondo Brunello also embraced the international distribution of La Place de Bordeaux. Since 2009, this choice has resulted in ever increasing results. The Négociants boast a centuries-long history of the sale of fine wines at an international level.

“Making top-tier wines is not enough,” explains Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Frescobaldi group. “Knowing how to communicate this quality and choosing the perfect distribution is essential. By considering these years with La Place de Bordeaux as the first step and examining potential sales growth, it now seems logical for us to open a representative office in Bordeaux. Our goal is to strengthen our position by developing a deeper and more integrated relationship with the Négociants, no longer working from a distance, but in close contact with our partners.”

This stimulating challenge has been entrusted to Patrick Lachapèle who will take on the role of Director of the representative office, returning to France after 16 years in Asia where he worked as Asia-Pacific Export Manager for Baron Philippe de Rothschild and then as Director Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and South America for Ornellaia and Tenuta Luce. Patrick will work alongside the commercial directors of the four estates, which will remain individually managed.

The new office will be operational in the first quarter of 2022.

***

Masseto wines are available to all markets through La Place de Bordeaux with the exception of Italy, United States and Canada where Masseto retains direct distribution. Ornellaia wines are available as well through La Place de Bordeaux with the exception of Europe, United States and Canada.

In the case of Tenuta Luce, La Place de Bordeaux holds the distribution in Asia (with the exception of Japan), Africa and Middle East meanwhile CastelGiocondo is available with the Négociants in China only.

Vinchio Vaglio: the Nest of Barbera

The story of the Vinchio and Vaglio winery is a love story where the inhabitants of these two villages transformed a difficult and poor, inarable land with slopes so steep that some local sayings proved true: “S’ot dròca la colassion, it la treuvi pì!” (if you drop your breakfast, you won’t find it again!) or “S’ot dròca ël bertin, ot toca curije drera fin ant la val” (if your hat blows off in the wind, you’ll need to run down to the end of the valley to get it”). The name results from both Vinchio and Vaglio Serra villages where 19 vine growers used to live and founded the cooperative in 1959. The winery is located in Piedmont, Monferrato, core zone of UNESCO World Heritage Patrimony, right at the foot of the Alps. This area with its steep slopes and overhanging vineyards at the edge of the woods has been tended and “tamed” to dramatic effort, where every single drop of the “Ruby of Vinchio” (Barbera wine) equates to thousands of drops (and certainly not an exaggeration!) of farmers’ sweat. However, the vineyards have never failed to reward their hard work. These vine rows, in fact, repay the industrious farmers with grapes of rare and exceptional quality. Nowadays the cooperative represents 192 family vine growers who take daily care of 450 hectares mostly planted in Barbera grapes (60% of our production) and all other indigenous grapes from Piedmont such as Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Ruché, Albarossa, Grignolino, Arneis, Cortese, Moscato and Brachetto. The territory is characterized by a distinctive terroir of calcareous soils and sandy soils in Vinchio and mostly clay soils in Vaglio Serra what makes the Barbera of Vinchio Vaglio unique for the structure (white soils), elegance (sandy soils) and aromas (clay soils). The sun usually shines all day on these hills, there is seldom hoarfrost or fog and no shadow. Great wines grow on these hills.

Tenute Silvio Nardi ‘s Brunello 2016, A natural cycle of elegance

2016 has already won recognition as a stellar vintage for Brunello, with superbly balanced wines. For Tenute Silvio Nardi, this vintage displays the hallmarks of a particularly felicitous conjunction of factors.

Emilia Nardi, head of the family operation, explains: “Over the last 30 years, we have gradually replanted all our vineyards, following a massive zonation project, and in addition, we launched a significant programme of clonal selection. The results are that today, our vineyards are magnificently expressive.”

Brunello Tenute Silvio Nardi is a cuvée of grapes grown in a full 54 individual parcels on the two properties that compose the wine estate. Casale del Bosco, in the north-east quadrant of Montalcino, where the historic winery is located, is wooded and still wild, while Manachiara lies in the sunny, gently-rolling hills in the southeast. The voices of these vineyards’ “chorus” are even further tuned by precision viticulture and separate vinifications. After individual maturations, the lots find their common expression in the assembly of the cuvée, composed with the assistance of the exceptionally sensitive palate of consulting winemaker Eric Boissenot.

Zonation, soils, clones, elevation, aspect, and, obviously, the hand of man are critical for producing a great wine, but a favourable climate is just as important, and weather conditions in 2016 have been just perfect. Following spring rains that lasted into mid-June, sun and cool breezes got the upper hand. Heat in July, which averaged over 30oC, providentially alternated with sporadic rains in August, which brought temperatures down as low as 12oC, ushering in the cool conditions necessary for a high-quality crop, and a slow, gradual ripening allowed tannins and aroma precursors all the time they needed to develop. The first picking started in mid-September and concluded in October.  

“After years of intense work on our vineyards, and with the fortunate kiss of 2016, I am pleased to state that the elegance achieved by our Brunello 2016 represents a great milestone for us, but the starting point as well for striving further,” concluded Emilia.

The wine exhibits an impressive balance of red berries and purple fruit, with a near-endless progression infused with mineral and vegetal aromatic impressions, all supported by a lively acidity and firm tannins that promise an enviable development over 10 years or more.    

Ornellaia Bianco 2018

The latest vintage of Ornellaia’s signature white is released to the market.

Say Ornellaia and shades of ruby red and silky texture spring to mind, but there’s another side to the Bolgheri winery, a limited-edition jewel that serves as the alter ego of the Tuscan wine sharing the same name: Ornellaia Bianco. This year, the 2018 vintage is being released to market. 

An intriguing and balanced cuvée in a deep shade of straw yellow, Ornellaia Bianco interprets the spirit of the Bolgheri estate with the grace and light that define this bucolic place. The grapes originate from a unique mélange of land: three small north-facing parcels, woven among the red-grape vineyards, which bestow a crystalline quality and hints of the Mediterranean shrub, sea breezes and a sumptuous style on the wine. Ornellaia Bianco stands as testimony to Bolgheri’s undeniable capacity to grow white varietals.

Ornellaia Bianco 2018, a Sauvignon Blanc-led blend with a touch of Viognier, displays “aromas of exotic fruit accompanied by mild hints of finely roasted vanilla, with a rich and fragrant palate perfectly balanced by a savoury tanginess,” comments the estate’s winemaker, Olga Fusari.

“2018 was rather harmonious, consisting of rain and sunshine in useful and necessary measures,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz. The spring nurtured and revived the canopy with many showers, which was duly replaced by a summer of sunshine, in which the area’s typical breeze kept the vines healthy and dry. “In August, the various microclimates were accentuated by scattered showers,” Heinz continues. “This resulted in marked differences in the ripening stages of the grapes, which we harvested at very different times, starting after the 15th of August and continuing until the 13th of September. It was perhaps the longest harvest in the history of Ornellaia.

This wine is a product of meticulously harvested grapes picked in several stages before being fermented and set aside to refine for 10 months on the lees. Ornellaia Bianco does not undergo malolactic fermentation, therefore enabling its fresh character and Mediterranean identity to shine through. 

The desire to convey the estate’s exceptional qualities has shaped Ornellaia’s philosophy since the beginning, and Ornellaia Bianco 2018 keeps the banner flying high, ready to inspire wine enthusiasts with evocative images of the beautiful Tuscan coast.

Nights of frost on 7th and 8th April 2021 at Tenuta di Trinoro in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany

 

During the nights of the 7th and 8th of April, the vineyards at Tenuta di Trinoro offered a moving sight: vine rows lit up in the thick of night with thousands of candles lined up and burning. 

The whole winery team of 36 workers fought a wave of frost that had come down the mountain to threaten fragile buds just beginning to sprout; the team had already prepared and set 3.000 large candles made with buckets filled with wax, placed along the rows during the day, as is customary in many of the colder vineyards of northern Europe. At Tenuta di Trinoro operations started at around midnight, with careful monitoring of the falling temperatures, until fire had to be set to stacks of firewood piled around the vineyards; then the 3.000 candles were lit. This kept the air around the plants above 0° degrees, while all around the vineyards, temperatures as low as 4.5° below freezing point were registered. 

In the morning, at 9.45, the team left, after 8 hours of frantic work against this spell of cold air. More nights like this are expected this year.

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.

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