Ornellaia Bianco 2017
Ornellaia Bianco is Italy’s most ambitious white wine. It is a result of the Estate’s desire to translate the exceptional properties of its terroir not only into red wines, but also into this magnificent white.
The Ornellaia vineyard totals 280 acres that are divided into more than 70 vineyard plots according to soil type, exposition and varietal. There are three major soil types: marine (sedimentary deposit from the sea), alluvial (marly, sandy clays with mineral veins), and volcanic (schist, gravel and porous soils). All the vineyards are about 3 miles from the Mediterranean shore. The mild maritime climate features sea breezes that keep the sky clear, low rainfall, and long summers that favor the development of aromatic compounds.
Vineyards are planted at high density, from 5,000-8,700 hl/ha, and feature several training systems – spur-pruned cordon, single Guyot, and head-pruned vines.
The grapes were hand-harvested in 15 kg bins in the early hours of the morning and immediately cooled on arrival in the cellar to keep all their aromatic potential intact. Following careful selection, the whole grape clusters were subjected to slow and soft pressing with maximum attention to protection against oxidation. After static decantation lasting approximately 24 hours, all the must was placed in barriques, 30% new and 70% used, for alcoholic fermentation at temperatures no higher than 22°C. No malolactic fermentation was carried out. The ageing continued for 12 months on the lees with periodic batonnage over the entire period, and concluded in steel vats for 3 more months. Before bottling, blending of the various batches was carried out, along with light fining. The wine was then aged in the bottle for a further 6 months before its introduction to the market.
The grapes were hand-harvested in 15 kg bins in the early hours of the morning and immediately cooled on arrival in the cellar to keep all their aromatic potential intact. Following careful selection the whole grape clusters were subjected to slow and soft pressing with maximum attention to protection against oxidation. After static decantation lasting approximately 24 hours, all the must was placed in barriques, 30% new and 70% used, for alcoholic fermentation at temperatures no higher than 22°C. No malolactic fermentation was carried out. The ageing continued for 12 months on the lees with periodic batonnage over the entire period, and concluded in steel vats for 3 more months. Before bottling, blending of the various batches was carried out, along with light fining. The wine was then aged in the bottle for a further 6 months before its introduction to the market.
“2017 was mainly characterized by heat and drought, and harvesting the Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier grapes early was fundamental for preserving the aromatic freshness of the wines. With its bright yellow colour with green reflections, Ornellaia Bianco 2017 has a beautifully complex nose and an unexpected aromatic intensity, featuring aromas of exotic fruits and notes of fresh citrus. It is particularly striking in the mouth with an almost silky sensation, accompanied by a pleasant freshness that ends in a long and elegant finish.”
-Olga Fusari, Winemaker
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Decanter - "Drenched in white flowers on the aromatics and from the first sip you are hooked. Still young at four years old but already juicy and full of just the right amount of tension. Graphite, slate, nectarine pit and concentrated Sicilian lemons. I have a few unforgettable whites, from Remelluri Blanco to Penfolds Yattarna to Bonneau de Martray Corton-Charlemagne to Pavillon Blanc, and this is right up there. Not many producers or vineyard sites can make Sauvignon Blanc (helped out by Viognier) taste this good. 30% new oak, longest white harvest in history of Ornellaia."
Jeb Dunnuck - "The 2017 Ornellaia Bianco is 91% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Viognier, which is a combination you don't see often, yet it makes sense, and the Viognier plays the role of Semillon seen in Bordeaux Blanc releases. Coming from a dry, hot year, it has a beautiful bouquet of Meyer lemons, honeysuckle, flowers, and hints of barrique. This carries to a seamless, full-bodied white that's flawlessly balanced, has a bright core of acidity, ample mid-palate depth, and a great finish. It's one seriously classy white I'd be thrilled to drink any time over the coming 4-5 years."
Wine Advocate - "The previous vintage of this wine was made soley with Sauvignon Blanc, but as expected, the Ornellaia 2017 Ornellaia Bianco sees a small percentage of Viognier added to the blend. The exact percentage of the two components is 91% Sauvignon Blanc and 9% Viognier. If you are a fan of these grape varieties, as I am, this wine will appeal to all your basic pleasure points. Showing medium rich concentration and a creamy textural fiber, it reveals some of the weight that we associated with this hot and dry vintage. However, any trace of over-ripeness is mitigated by the cool soils that, in this case, consist of deep calcarious clay broken up by rocks at a breezy 80 to 100 meters above sea level. This consistency is perfect for locking in moisture even in drought vintages. The wine is fermented in oak, but no malolactic fermentation occurs, and the wine instead rests on the fine lees with frequent stirring. Orchard fruits and Cavaillon melon give the wine a sturdy center of gravity."
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