Axel Heinz, Estate Director of Ornellaia, will present tomorrow 1st October at 6 pm CET, the second vin Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2018 – just released on the market – on an Instagram Livestream (@ornellaiawinery).
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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.
THE AMOUNT OF $315.000 WILL BE DONATED TO THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION IN NEW YORK IN SUPPORT OF
Bolgheri, 10 September 2020 – Yesterday evening, Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi, President of the prestigious Bolgheri winery Ornellaia, and Giovanni Geddes, CEO, personally handed a cheque for $315.000 to Karole Vail, Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The donation was possible thanks to the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare” edition and sales of the prized limited-edition bottles designed by artist Tomás Saraceno.
For the last twelve years, Ornellaia has been furthering the Vendemmia d’Artista project, which supports foundations and museums around the world through the union of art and wine. Since last year, thanks to a collaboration with the Guggenheim, it has raised funds to support an equally innovative initiative: the Mind’s Eye program at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
The “Mind’s Eye” program was created by the Guggenheim’s Education Department to gift the joy of art to visitors who are blind or have low vision. The appreciation of art, like wine, involves all the senses. This was the idea that inspired Ornellaia to donate the profits from the annual Vendemmia d’Artista auction to this program.
Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO of Ornellaia, commented: “The huge success that the Mind’s Eye program is having, also thanks to our donations, fills us with pride, especially when we observe how the same model can extend not only to other museums belonging to the Guggenheim Foundation, but also to other art institutions in the rest of the world, ensuring that this excellence continues to guide museum programming for the blind and persons with low vision. And to all people across the world.”
At the end of the auction, which was held online by Sotheby’s from 1 to 9 September, Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation said: “Through the continued support of Ornellaia, the Guggenheim has been able to offer greater access to our programming and to deepen audience engagement. We extend our gratitude to Ornellaia for recognizing the importance of programs such as Mind’s Eye and for their generosity.”
Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017 “Solare”
The Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrates and describes the character of every new vintage of Ornellaia. Every year, starting with the release of Ornellaia 2006, a contemporary artist crafts a site-specific artwork and a set of limited-edition labels, inspired by a word chosen by the estate director, Axel Heinz, to describe the vintage.
“Solare” (radiant in English) is the epithet chosen by Axel Heinz to describe the 2017 vintage of this wine: “It was a year of extremes, in which sun and heat played a decisive role. By adapting to the conditions with more precise and flexible practices, we succeeded in voicing the bold personality of this vintage.”
Based on the descriptor, Tomás Saraceno gave his interpretation of Ornellaia 2017 Solare. The artist sought inspiration in the alliance between the Sun and populated systems of life, inviting greater care and attention to the most important source of our planet’s energy; the Sun, which is depicted in the evolution of an eclipse. The issue of sustainability is explored through floating spheres such as “PNEUMA 4.21×105”, the sculpture that tops the Salmanazar, and the special thermodynamic labels, which like the ecosystems in which we live, are heat sensitive.
2020 is a year we are unlikely to forget but, in the vineyards of Bolgheri at least, conditions so far this year give hope for an outstanding vintage.
With the exception of a few particularly cool nights in March, the spring was almost perfect: sunny, with some rain at the right time. The conditions ensured correct and consistent growth in the vineyards, resulting in a slightly earlier budbreak, only one week earlier than usual.
The fruit set was assured and laid the foundations for a generous harvest that has now been confirmed in August.
The summer commenced with a June that was wetter than usual, forcing the Ornellaia team to conduct considerable vineyard management to limit and protect the vegetation at the height of its growth. July balanced the circumstances, given the lack of rainfall, slowing down the development of the vines just in time for the veraison, which occurred during the last ten days of the month.
As the months under Covid-19 unfurled, the organization in the vineyard and cellar were swiftly adapted to protect Ornellaia’s employees. “Back in April,” explains Estate Director Axel Heinz, “we reorganised the cellar, where about 20 people work, whereas distancing is natural in the vineyards. We changed our working methods without altering our operation and without compromising our standards of quality. It has been a significant challenge.”
The harvest started about a week earlier than usual, on 13th of August, with the first bunches of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. The red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot) are expected to be harvested between the last few days of August and the first week of September.
“The watchwords for this first harvest after the Covid-19 lockdown are ‘confidence & resilience,’” continues the Director. “Our commitment is to work as usual, interpreting the vintage to the best of our abilities while preserving the style and identity of Ornellaia.”
Hopes are high for the 2020 vintage, but, like every year, it will be the weather conditions in September that decide the definitive quality of the vintage. Meanwhile, the harvest continues…
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.
Tuesday, April 28 at 6 pm CET on Instagram Axel Heinz will present “Three Ornellaia’s Dreamy vintages”, 1998, 2001, and 2006.
“A slender ray of sunshine seems to be arriving from China regarding wine sales,” is the cautiously welcome message from Ornellaia Ceo Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja. “With orders slowly increasing, in particular for the currently-available 2017 vintage of Ornellaia, it actually seems that one of the most important markets for Italian exports, and not just wine, is re-opening. This positive change is a great relief and reason for optimism, not only for us but for all of Italy’s wine industry.”
The Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno interprets the 12th edition of Vendemmia d’Artista
“Vintage 2017 was certainly one of extremes, in which frosts, sun and drought certainly captured the imagination. Despite the fact it was a challenging year for the team in the vineyards and for us winemakers, I am very happy with the high quality and character of this vintage. We have chosen the word “Solare” (which in English translates as “Radiant”) to describe Ornellaia 2017 because it expresses its positive qualities,” explains Axel Heinz, Estate Director of the Bolgheri winery. “To preserve the strong and opulent personality of this wine, we had to apply the upmost care and attention from the vineyard to cellar – more so than in a normal vintage. This careful management of the grapes, starting with an early harvest, has resulted in a harmonious wine in which scents of black berries and liquorice prevail alongside velvety tannins typical of warm vintages. In short I would say that Ornellaia 2017 is sumptuously Mediterranean”.
In line with these words from Axel Heinz, this year’s Vendemmia d’Artista project turns its attention to our planet and the star that illuminates it. The artist chosen to interpret the character of “Solare” is the visionary Tomás Saraceno, known worldwide for his interactive installations that, in this age of ecological upheaval, propose new, more sustainable ways to live.
For Ornellaia, sustainability has always played an important role. The estate itself is a harmonious ecosystem with internal checks and balances that expresses the characteristics of each single plot and its unique terroir. Sustainable viticulture, defined by the conservation and enrichment of our terrain and the landscape in general, is essential to Ornellaia’s production philosophy. Through minimal intervention, we encourage the plant’s spontaneous tendency towards equilibrium. Precision viticulture addresses the specific needs of each parcel, whereas low-impact intervention stimulates the plant’s natural defenses.
Ornellaia 2017 Solare was produced in a year with above-average temperatures, with early budbreak and a sharp dip in temperatures in April that fortunately did not influence the vegetative growth cycle. The proximity of the Bolgheri DOC to the Mediterranean Sea played a decisive role and meant that we avoided the spring frosts that struck other parts of Italy. We then moved from one extreme to another with a dry heat spell that lasted from May until nearly the harvest. Luckily, hot and dry summer days were followed by much cooler nights which contributed to the development of Ornellaia 2017’s olfactory complexity.
Inspired by the radiant nature of Ornellaia 2017, Tomás Saraceno looked to the connection between the Sun and the Earth, inviting greater care and attention to the most important source of our planet’s energy. This is the concept behind the artwork developed for the estate and transposed to the unique Salmanazar. PNEUMA 4.21×105 recalls an atomic structure composed of glass spheres which, like clouds, create a suspended city whose form and size are in constant evolution – an expansion of traditional concepts of borders and territories. The suspended sculpture’s forms, as imagined by Saraceno, would be able to float without fossil fuels, powered only by the sun.
Alongside the installation for the estate and the Salmanazar, the artist has also customized 110 large-format bottles and designed a special thermochromic label for the 750ml format, through which he invites us to reflect on the impact that the human behaviour has on the environment.
As with every year, the 100 double magnums will be sold to avid collectors around the world meanwhile the unique Salmanazar and the 6 litre Imperials will only be available for sale through an online auction, hosted by Sotheby’s, the profits of which will be donated exclusively to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s “Mind’s Eye” program.
“Sotheby’s Wine is delighted to continue our long-term partnership with Ornellaia supporting the 12th edition of their Vendemmia d’Artista project. The 12 lot online auction of the 2017 “Solare” vintage, illustrated by Tomás Saraceno and including many experiences, will open on Sotheby’s online platform, where clients can easily bid through the Sotheby’s app. Similar to last year, we anticipate these lots will attract a truly global roster of bidders who wish to buy these exclusive bottles and enjoy unique experiences.” Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.
“Since the inception of Vendemmia d’Artista in 2009, we continue to have the pleasure of supporting leading cultural foundations through celebrating the unique character of Ornellaia,” says Giovanni Geddes da Filicaja, CEO. “In 2019, we embarked on a three-year partnership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, which in the first year raised $312,000 for the project through auction at Sotheby’s. The connection between art and wine remains a passion for many people, ourselves included; we hope that in the years to come we will be able to contribute just as much, if not more, to the Mind’s Eye program through which the Guggenheim assists blind and low vision persons to experience art.”
Donations from the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista auction will make it possible to advance superb educational programs at the museums in the Guggenheim constellation.
“We offer our sincere appreciation to Ornellaia for their longstanding involvement with the visual arts and their ongoing support of our Mind’s Eye program,” stated Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “With the generosity of Ornellaia, we are able to expand the programs that allow us to promote an understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art to audiences of all abilities.”
The artist Tomás Saraceno will open the Vendemmia d’Artista online auction during the annual event organised by Ornellaia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on April 30, 2020.
The profits will be announced and donated to the Mind’s Eye program on May 15 when the auction will close on Sotheby’s website, the long-time partner of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project.
Travelling along the Viale dei Cipressi, one first catches sight of Bolgheri’s roofline and the Tyrrhenian Sea behind it. Then, just a few more minutes and the gates of Ornellaia greet its visitors on their adventure to discover the famous Bolgheri Superiore DOC. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, it is in fact the ideal time to plan a trip along the Tuscan coast, exploring its villages, and above all to understand where and how one of the Italy’s true treasures emerge: Ornellaia, a wine that has succeeded in positioning itself at the top of international wine charts in only 30 years.
The wine experience starts in the vineyards, on a discovery tour of the different micro-zones, the soil composition of the vineyards, and how the vines are trained. Following the path of the grapes, the journey continues into the cellar, where visitors can see where the wines “take shape” and also admire the art installations that from 2009 to today, one each year, have enriched the Ornellaia collection, thanks to the Vendemmia d’Artista art project.
Even before entering the cellar, visitors can gaze upon some artworks out in the open air: “Happily Ever After” by Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, “Splash” by John Armleder, and Yutaka Sone’s interpretation of L’Eleganza. Once visitors enter the cellar they are struck by the explosion of colours of Luigi Ontani’s installation, followed by those of Zhang Huan, Rebecca Horn, Michelangelo Pistoletto and others along the way. Descending into the heart of the cellar is increasingly exciting: the oak barrels are imposing, and in the air – in a perfect silence – you can almost smell the wine.
At the end of the tour, finally, a tasting of the entire range of the current vintage. Wines include Le Volte dell’Ornellaia, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, and Ornellaia. But there’s more. Ornellaia has saved a truly exclusive surprise for its guests: a tasting of “Variazioni in Rosso dell’Ornellaia”, a cuvée that can only be tasted and bought at the estate. With this limited-production Tuscan IGT, Ornellaia expresses the individuality of each vintage through a particularly distinctive grape variety that the winemaker highlights in the blend. An inimitable tasting experience.
The “Tour & Tasting by Ornellaia” is available with advance booking. For info and prices: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great satisfactions from a challenging vintage
For over 25 years now, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia has shone as the most youthful expression of Ornellaia’s wine production; its generous, Mediterranean character combines with a firm structure and multi-layered complexity to offer, year after year, immediate, joyous pleasure.
The 2017 version has just arrived on retail shelves across the globe, the interpretation of a vintage that those near Bolgheri’s iconic Viale de Cipressi will remember as a hot, dry season.
A mild winter brought a slightly-early budbreak, whose progress was favoured by warm, temperate spring, of the kind that only the Mediterranean coast can gift. April was a more restless month, with some unexpected winter-like conditions, without, however, doing any damage to shoot growth. May seemed to usher in summer; its uninterrupted sun slowed vine growth, but flowering continued unabated. July and August were true to form, refreshed by the providentially-cool night-time temperatures typical of this area.
The harvest started early, on 24 August, and concluded in the final week of September. Towards mid-month, a few rain showers helped lower temperatures, creating, in fact, ideal conditions for finishing the harvest on a high note.
As is our custom, fermentation was performed in small steel tanks, a technique that preserves the characteristics of the varietal components (largely Merlot). The final wine was matured 10 months, part in oak barrels previously used for Ornellaia, part in concrete vats, with the objective of achieving a perfect balance between structure and fruit.
“The result of a particularly hot, dry year,” remarked Winemaker Olga Fusari, “Le Volte dell’ Ornellaia 2017 is characterised by its usual deep ruby red colour. An appealing bouquet of ripe red berryfruit and spices is sustained on the palate by crisp acidity and an open, enveloping tannic structure.”