Tag Archives: Ornellaia

Ornellaia 2015 and Château Mouton Rothschild 2016: William Kentridge creates art labels for iconic wines

 


William Kentridge, considered by critics South Africa’s finest contemporary artist, created the unique labels for the 10th edition of Bolgheri-based Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista project. Specifically designed to convey the character classic to the 2015 vintage—expressed as Il Carisma, Charisma—, the labels for this Tuscan wine estate have encountered impressive success and are now coveted by collectors across the globe.      

Kentridge designed the label for Château Mouton Rothschild 2016 as well, which features a vibrant parade of festive, primal bacchantes. The prestigious French maison has scheduled the wine’s official launch for this week.   Kentridge is the first artist from the African continent commissioned to design the dress for these top-ranking Italian and French wines. 

Liv-Ex, London’s authoritative wine-market performance index, ranks Ornellaia as one of the ten most sought-after wines in the world. With its value increasing each year, Ornellaia represents a superb investment, as well as a nonpareil gift for Christmas. And ne plus ultra for art-lovers!

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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.

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.”

 

Ornellaia: beginning of the harvest

After already two weeks of white wine harvest, this 31 August, harvest of the red grapes has started in Ornellaia.

A rainy spring that has required solid nerves to keep up with explosive vine growth and high risk of disease, but rewarded us with excellent fruit set and even development of the grapes. Summer has not been short of sunny weather and high temperatures, with just enough rain to prevent from any drought. Ripening has been even without any rush, allowing us to kick off at a normal date for Ornellaia. Next week is expected to bring cooler temperatures to hopefully create ideal conditions for a harvest that should last for all of September and should finish the first days of October for the latest ripening varieties.

 

Axel Heinz – Estate Director and winemaker Ornellaia

Ornellaia benefit auction at the V&A Museum

Benefit auction of Ornellaia Wines at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London  brings total of £ 123.000 (€ 140.000)

On the event of the tenth edition of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia has raised above of 2 Million euros to benefit art foundations and museums across the globe through the project to date. 

Ornellaia was in the spotlight at a benefit auction of 9 lots comprising special bottles created by William Kentridge for the Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma – Vendemmia d’Artista. Stephen Mould, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe, presided at a gala dinner and auction which raised funds to benefit the host sponsoring the event, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, directed by Tristram Hunt.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project, Ornellaia has invited South African artist William Kentridge to interpret the character of “Il Carisma” (Charisma). Kentridge is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, sculptures, animations and performances, which he uses to transmute sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories.

The artist William Kentridge created a site-specific masterpiece for the estate, customising a limited series of 111 large-format bottles and designing special edition labels, including a special edition label for a unique Salmanazar bottle (9 litres) using circular anamorphic digital print. In addition – to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Vendemmia d’Artista project – the special edition label will be reproduced on all Magnums and on the lids of their wooden cases. The drawings on the labels were executed on the pages of old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.

The centrepiece of the project is the wine: Ornellaia 2015 Il Carisma. Now in its 30th vintage, the Carisma lives up to its name. The fruit of a particularly well-balanced harvest season, 2015 is without doubt one of the great Ornellaia vintages. The characteristic deep colour announces a wine of great texture and intensity, followed by a fruit-rich nose that is ripe and fresh at the same time, emphasized by classic balsamic and spicy hints. It is rich, dense and full-bodied on the palate, with an exceptional tannic texture. Dense, velvety and refined, this texture extends throughout the palate. The lengthy finish concludes with an impression of firmness and delicate hints of spice.

“Like people of great ‘Carisma’ (Charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves.”

Axel Heinz, Winemaker and Estate Director.

According to the artist, “The images on the Ornellaia labels are essentially about the work of making wine, and mainly of the vendemmia, the grape harvest. The secateurs come from a memory of the one occasion I took part in a Tuscan vendemmia, when I spent six months in San Casciano outside Florence with my family. This made me understand the human labour involved in making the wine; though what I remember most strongly is the pleasure of the lunch prepared in the vineyards by the local farmer’s wife. A depth of flavour made by the combination of work and terroir. The aspects of wine-making that combine both manual craft and mechanical processes suggested the transformation of people into machines and machines into workers. This is part of an ongoing series of drawings and other work about human labour. The drawings are done on pages from various old Italian cash books found in flea markets and second-hand shops in the Tuscan area.”

William Kentridge.

South African artist William Kentridge is a true Renaissance Man, a modern-day da Vinci who can lend his hand to drawing, printmaking, animation, sculpture, set design, opera, performance – the list goes on! The designs he has produced for Ornellaia combine so many elements of his work, including his repurposing of old Italian cash books and ongoing exploration of human labour and mechanics, which lend themselves so well to the tradition of winemaking, and to the history and impeccable standards of the Ornellaia estate in particular. The labels he has designed for Ornellaia draw on his Shadow Procession series, as seen in the public mural ‘Triumphs and Laments’ on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, and his latest performance work ‘The Head and the Load’, which premiers in London this summer. One lucky bidder will even get to take home an anamorphic digital print, which only assumes its proper form only when reflected in a mirrored cylinder, in this case making clever use of the form of the Salmanazar wine bottle itself. I think it is no underestimation to say Kentridge is one of the most exciting and versatile artists in the world today, as evidenced in this very special project.”

Hannah O’Leary, Sotheby’s Head of Modern and Contemporary African Art.

 

“The V&A is thrilled to host Ornellaia, Sotheby’s, and the renowned artist William Kentridge, as they present the 10th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista. We are honoured that Ornellaia have chosen the V&A for this spectacular event and we are hugely grateful for its generous support.”

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, Victoria & Albert Museum.

 

Sotheby’s Wine is proud to participate in our tenth collaboration with Ornellaia’s superb Vendemmia d’Artista art program. We have enjoyed incredibly special events in New York (2010 & 2017), Hong Kong (2012), London (2013), Toronto (2014), Basel (2015) and Los Angeles (2016), each of which was wholly unique and exciting, in the same way that every vintage has its own distinct character. The evening combines great wines and great works of art, culminating in a live benefit auction, where we will raise funds for the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). These unique large-format bottles will find homes in new cellars and will always remind their new owners of the joys of bringing wine, food, art and friendship together. This is a time for fun, celebration and generosity.

Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.

“Sotheby’s is honoured to support the 10th anniversary edition of Ornellaia’s Vendemmia d’Artista, a wonderful project which stimulates the senses with its unique fusion of art and wine. The marriage of one of Italy’s greatest wines with a leading contemporary artist for an excellent cause is a celebratory event, and this year’s special edition scales the heights in bringing together an exceptional vintage, the renowned artist William Kentridge, and a world-famous and beloved museum.”

Stephen Mould, Senior Director, Head of Sotheby’s Wine, Europe.

“Today, as the Vendemmia d’Artista marks its 10th year, it continues to attract funds for the restoration of artworks belonging to our universal heritage. In this ten editions we have succeeded in donating more two million euros across the globe, just a small drop perhaps, but there is much more to come”.

Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO Ornellaia.  

Ristorante Ornellaia opens in Zurich

 

Ristorante Ornellaia opens its doors today to the public just off one of the world’s most luxurious and exclusive streets, the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, with the entrance in Sankt Annagasse 2. The celebrated Bolgheri-based wine estate, founded in 1981 has opened its first restaurant with Bindella, its life-long importer and ambassador in Switzerland, renowned also for its expertise in gastronomy.

Celebrated Swiss Architect Tilla Theus has sought to create a taste of Ornellaia and the unmistakable atmosphere of Tuscany; a landscape of people, food and wine, while such an innovative project required a chef of the same calibre. Italian Giuseppe D’Errico after working alongside maestro Gualtiero Marchesi at Alma and developing his considerable talents alongside Michel Troisgrois at the three star Restaurant Troisgros in Roanne, France was the perfect choice. D’Errico’s cuisine is a restyling of classic Tuscan cuisine that uses the same audacious spirit and vision as Ornellaia itself.

“My own personal style relies on simplicity, fine taste, and tradition. Michel Troisgros taught me the values that a dish should exhibit: beauty, goodness, and simplicity. I derive my inspiration from various sources—people I meet, respect for raw ingredients, traditions linked to my own origins, the flavours of what the earth yields. I approach food, just as I do wine, with enormous respect and a hunger to learn. Ornellaia enjoys an unmistakable bond with its growing area; a magnificent, refined, and harmonious corner of Tuscany. All my dishes have this as their starting point.”

GIUSEPPE D’ERRICO, CHEF RISTORANTE ORNELLAIA

Ristorante Ornellaia is a small plot of Bolgheri in Switzerland. Wine, is the focus, but together with the character of every single creation by the team. D’Errico’s guiding hand reveals the rich flavours of a wine-growing paradise, and his sensitivity is obvious in dishes embodying the spirit and philosophy of Ornellaia.

Ristorante Ornellaia is a very special place for Bindella as it continues to strengthen the bond with the Estate.  The expertise in fine wines and hospitality will be on full display, as well as the stunning beauty of Bolgheri’s landscapes, so that the whole becomes an expression of artistic beauty. This fine restaurant is further enhanced by the works of two swiss artists; the outstanding painter Cuno Amiet, and sculptor Hans Josephson, whose talents have won international recognition.

“We wanted to create a superb venue for Ornellaia’s wine since we have been their ambassador in Switzerland right from the first vintage, 1985. The venue reflects the audacious spirit of Ornellaia and the wine list boasts older vintages and rarities from the ‘Ornellaia Archivio Storico’, as well as large-size bottles that one can find only in international auctions. The bond between Bindella and Ornellaia is also obvious by the inclusion on the wine list of a selection of wines from Vallocaia, our own winery, which also first emerged in 1985.”

RUDI BINDELLA

Architect Tilla Theus designed the restaurant with a special focus on native Tuscan materials, such a travertine, famous for its use in historic churches and buildings in Florence.  

“My visit to Ornellaia renewed my memories of Tuscany in a very positive way. The experience of an unforgettable atmosphere; the landscape is beautiful, and the hospitality is without peer. It was that atmosphere – combining landscape, people, food and wine – that I wanted to capture and recreate in Ristorante Ornellaia. Therefore, the travertine used in the interior of the restaurant comes from Tuscany. I remodelled the grey granite stone-front of the building in Bahnhofstrasse 53 inside the restaurant using the warm-coloured travertine stone, together with a classic Tuscan wood ceiling. The more than 100 different lights appear as single spot and call to mind the starry firmament. They also draw attention to the impressive ceiling height. This novel atmosphere is completed by the bronze replica of an oak on the ceiling that recalls the impressive oak at Ornellaia. The interior design is complemented by bronze art-pieces by Josephson as well as art in the traditional Tuscan colours by Cuno Amiet”.

TILLA THEUS, ARCHITECT

Ristorante Ornellaia owes its existence to a desire to combine world-class wine with the highest expression of Italian cuisine, as well as to provide way, even at such a distance, of feeling oneself actually at the winery, in Bolgheri and sharing the philosophy of those who strive each day to respect an area’s genius loci so as to bring forth its finest possible expression.

“Wine summons up emotions, and every visit to our vineyards and the cellar is a unique expression, with that pleasure repeated and renewed with every vintage. We opened Ristorante Ornellaia because we wanted people to enter our world and experience the passion and excellence that are innate in Bolgheri—even when one is physically distant from the Estate. This year, we are celebrating the 30th vintage of Ornellaia and the 10th annual Vendemmia d’Artista, which coincides as well with 30 years of collaboration, and friendship, with Bindella. The offspring of this perfect marriage has been this restaurant, which we would not have wanted to do with any other partner.”    

GIOVANNI GEDDES DA FILICAJA, CEO ORNELLAIA

Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” in starring role at Christie’s in London

 

On 15 March the 12-litre Ornellaia 2015 will go under the hammer of the London auction house, alongside first-release Ornellaia Bianco 2014 and 2015 magnums

 

Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma” will play a starring role next 15 March when it goes under the hammer for the “Fine & Rare Wines” event hosted by the prestigious London auction house Christie’s, at 8 King Street. The occasion will showcase Italy’s top vintage wines, a category forging ahead in leading international auctions.

As already announced, the auction will include a single 12-litre bottle of Ornellaia 2015 “Il Carisma”, an authentic expression of its unique terroir. The diverse nature of the Estate’s soils – marine, alluvial and volcanic – coupled with its maritime climate create an environment in which red and white varietals can express themselves to the full. As winemaker Axel Heinz says, “wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves”.

This is why “Il Carisma” is the quintessence of Ornellaia 2015. The version presented for auction is a pre-release and the 12-litre bottle (£2,200 – £3,500) is the only example of this large format leaving the cellars this year. Also going under the hammer are several bottles of the very rare Ornellaia Bianco, created in 2013 as the white expression of Ornellaia Rosso. New horizons thus open for aficionados and this auction offers collectors the chance to acquire magnums of the 2014 and 2015 vintages that have never been made available for sale.

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