Tag Archives: Ornellaia

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

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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.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

From its position on the hillside close to Bolgheri, the Ornellaia estate lies hidden in the foothills around Bolgheri that face the Mediterranean coast. The cool maritime breeze caresses this exceptional Estate and its surrounding olive groves throughout the summer months. During the winter the hills give protection from the cold northern winds.

Ornellaia’s obsession with excellence is at all levels. Every choice they made is of absolute importance and implies an all-consuming attention to detail. At no point in the production process are shortcuts allowed or tolerated, and this is how they succeed harvesting grapes that are of the very highest quality irrespective of the climatic conditions in that particular year.

Ornellaia believes that wines should be the truest expression of the terroir from which they come. The diverse nature of the Estate’s soils – marine, alluvial and volcanic – coupled with this maritime climate create an environment in which red and white varietals can express themselves to the full.

We tatsted: Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2015 – Bolgheri DOC

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is a true “second vin”. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon,

Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia combines generosity and depth of flavour with an engaging and vibrant personality.

This wine has intense ruby-red and noble color. It presents elegant fruity scents of cherries, black cherries and blueberries, which are enriched by tones of spices, coffee, liquorice. In the mouth is soft, lush and persistent tasting, expressive in the fruit and silky in tannins. The long persistence gives deep closure.

It goes very well with dishes based on noble poultry or feathered game. To try with hen in red wine.

 

“Clouds with silver linings” Vendemmia 2017 @ Ornellaia

 

Undeniably 2017 has been a challenging year in the vineyards. We have become so used to abundant harvests and constantly high quality that it comes as a shock when mother nature makes things difficult for us. In my past 12 years at Ornellaia a few vintages have presented challenges, 2009 & 2014 in particular, but none quite so much as 2017. All the talk so far has been about the low yields, and this is of course an issue for the commercial side, but certain aspects of 2017 give us reason to be happy.

2017 has seen a rare combination of an anticipated growth cycle with hot and dry weather, resulting on one of the earliest harvest in the history of the estate.

The Growing season

An early start with a sudden slowdown

The relatively warm and dry winter, only interrupted by a brief period of temperatures below 0°C in January, and an unusually warm weather in February and March set the stage for an early budbreak, which indeed arrived around the 27th March, a good week before average. April followed the same pattern leading to an explosive shoot growth that got brutally slowed down by a few days of extremely low temperatures that went below 0°C in many parts of Tuscany, causing important frost damages on the vines. Luckily in Bolgheri’s mild coastal climate the temperatures stayed just above zero preventing any frost.

Although May, the third consecutive month with rainfall below seasonal average, was warm and sunny, the shoot growth could not fully recover from the cold wave in April, therefore flowering occurred with canopies that had not reached their full size. The bloom was rapid and very uniform with good fruit set, but due to the slow vegetative growth clusters and berries stayed smaller than usual. On the positive side, the dry and sunny conditions reduced pressure of fungal diseases, allowing us reduce spraying to a minimum.

Summer: it never rains in Bolgheri…but we sometimes wish it would

From June on we saw a particularly hot and dry weather that would stay until mid-September. By July the lasting drought started to create some concern. The clusters stayed small without much berry growth, forcing us to adapt ourselves to the dry conditions, by removing cover crops and operating fruit thinning in order to further stress the vines. Ornellaia’s soil management, based on improving microbiological life and organic content, certainly helped to increase the vines’ resistance to the drought and keep enough moisture in the soils.

Veraison occurred about ten days early third week of July.

The harvest: As fast as you can

The long-lasting drought in the run up to harvest time was a constant source of anxiety, and we knew we could not change this. Not to our surprise the first grape samples showed already high sugars and indicated that we were in for an early harvest. A brief heat spike first week of August further accelerated the ripening and concentrated the berries, leading us to kick off harvest of the first Sauvignons on the 7th August, a date unheard of in Ornellaia. Sauvignon and Viognier harvest was completed by the 17th August and – quite astonishingly – was immediately followed by the usually late ripening Vermentino and Verdicchio. Our experience with white wine making accumulated since 2008, allowed us to avoid the traps of such a warm vintage – early harvest, picking only in the very first morning hours, transporting the grapes in a refrigerated truck and careful pressing in absence of oxygen have helped us to fully express the aromatic quality and maintain a beautiful acidity. Naturally the quality of the vineyard sites and the cool nights helped as well.

The first reds were harvested together with the Vermentino and Verdicchio on the 24th August, starting as usual with young vine Merlot. Harvest of the last old-vine Merlot was completed on the 4th September. In only ten days, 2017’s Merlot is one the fastest ever in the estate’s history. The exceptionally small berries showed high sugars, high tannin and luckily also high acidity. A good amount of fruit, especially when directly exposed to the sun showed some significant berry shriveling, which we could deal with perfectly through optical sorting, in use at Ornellaia since 2016, allowing us to discard sometimes up to 10% of shriveled berries. This certainly has immensely benefited the aromatic purity of the wines, avoiding any pruney or raisiny character.

Cabernet sauvignon harvest will as well be remembered as the earliest in the estate’s history. Young vines started to be picked on the 30th August in similar conditions than the Merlot, but by the 10th September the long-awaited rain came in, giving a fair bit of relief to the vines, hydrating the fruit and allowing us to complete the ripening under virtually perfect conditions. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and the older Cabernet sauvignon vines were completed by the 26th September, with sunny but cool weather.

The exceptionally small, concentrated and rich berries required particularly careful extraction. Less – in this case – is more and so we shortened maceration times to a maximum of 3 weeks, kept fermentation temperatures low, and reduced pump-overs to a minimum, to only extract the purest flavours and soft, gentle tannins of high quality.

…And finally, how are the wines?

We cannot sugar coat it – the yields in 2017 are very low and will cause some financial difficulty for some in the next few years, but in the end the quality of the wines, across the board, is a happy ending to a demanding and challenging year in which we were reminded of mother nature’s changing moods.

Concentration would be the first thing that comes to mind when describing them. The whites have maintained bright flavours and good acidities, testifying to the great potential of the area, a potential we had seen ever since we decided to start all over again with the production of Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia with the old sauvignon blanc vines that had not accepted their regrafting to Merlot. It is beautiful to see the wonderful quality coming from the newly planted vineyards in Bellaria, that have allowed us to produce Ornellaia bianco and have yielded wines of great finesse even in a hot vintage as 2017.

The reds are opulent, rich and dark, with abundant, yet silky and refined tannins and excellent acidities to cut through the richness. The fruit is intense and pure, without signs of over ripeness.

Last but not least, the Petit Manseng for Ornus dell’Ornellaia, picked in mid-October looks very promising with high sugars and great concentration. We will have to wait until the end of the year, once fermentation will be completed to express a final judgement

 Axel Heinz – Winemaker & Estate Director

2017 Ornellaia harvest

“Here at Ornellaia 2017 has been an unusually early year dominated by a long lasting drought period, which has forced us to startharvest two weeks earlier than usual. It is certainly a challenging year with a very small crop and very concentrated fruit. The Merlot have been harvested from last week of August to first week of September. The Cabernets have benefitted from some rain in mid September and could be picked in perfect conditions in the last decade of the month.”

“In the cellar it was crucial to drastically sort out any dehydrated and dried fruit and go through very gentle extraction with moderate maceration times. The quality of the red wines is definitely a nice surprise, they are certainly ripe and concentrated, with intense and dark colour, abundant but ripe and silky tannins and, luckily, healthy acidities to balance out the alcohol levels. The whites are equally beautiful for all varieties, they are concentrated with bright aromatics and excellent acidities.” Axel Heinz, winemaker and Estate Director

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