Ornellaia

Ornellaia 2018

Bolgheri DOC Superiore

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Ornellaia is the estate’s “Grand Vin,” with exceptional balance, power, elegance, and great aging potential. It faithfully reflects, in every vintage, its nature, site, and distinctive Mediterranean personality, and has established itself as one of the most iconic wines in Italy (and beyond).

Vineyard

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.

Winemaking

The clusters were hand-picked into 15 kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softly crushed. In 2016, optical sorting has been introduced in addition to manual selection, in order to further increase the quality of selection.

Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel and concrete tanks at temperatures between 26°C and 30°C for a week, followed by maceration for about 10-15 days, for a total time in the vat of about three weeks. The malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

Vintage

After several years in which winter seemed to be little more than a memory, 2018 brought a return to normal climatic conditions, with temperatures spending enough time below zero for the vines to begin their well-deserved winter rest. The spring will be remembered as one of the wettest in history, with three times the seasonal average rainfall and high temperatures in April. Despite late budbreak, the weather conditions and rapid growth of the shoots enabled the vines to catch up and bloom a week earlier than anticipated. For the entire month of May and – to a lesser extent – June, rainfall remained above average and it was only in July that the vines received some respite, with a warm and dry month. Veraison took place between the 22nd and 25th of July, and August was as hot as it had been the previous year, but slightly wetter. The sugars and acidity developed slowly, while the berries grew to larger dimensions thanks to the high level of water present in the soil. September was warm and dry. Temperatures were higher than the seasonal average, but cooler nights enabled the vines to recover and preserve the aromas and acidity. The red grape harvest began on the 31st of August with the Merlot and ended on the 8th of October with the later-ripening varieties.

Tasting Note

“With its usual deep ruby-red colour, Ornellaia 2018 features a lively and intense aromatic expression, a distinctive mark of the vintage. Red fruits, citrus notes, hints of liquorice and Mediterranean scrub combine to form its profile. With the first taste it is enveloping and all its components well balanced: the tannins, both dense and silky in texture, fill the palate with elegance and precision. The finish is lifted by a distinct tangy vein that enhances the sensation of freshness and persistence.”

– Olga Fusari, Winemaker

Color

Red

Grape Varieties

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot

Appellation

Bolgheri DOC Superiore

Alcohol

14.5%

Suggested Retail Price

$260.00

Reviews

"Focused on elegance"

Decanter -

"Often seen as one of the most powerful wines from Bolgheri, and possibly too muscular up until the first decade of the 2000s, Ornellaia 2018 is lighter than usual - a fact which is the result of both the cooler vintage and a thoughtful style. In this vintage, Merlot is the prominent grape, reaching 51% of the blend. The nose is intoxicatingly fresh and full of spice, with restrained cassis, citrus, clove and black pepper, most likely benefitting from lighter extraction. Graphite minerality dominates the palate, together with sweet blond tobacco and dark fruits. The mid-palate shows good concentration, with crunchy, ripe tannins and brilliant acidity. A really great expression of Bolgheri, more focused on elegance than powerful. It perhaps has slightly less ageing potential - 20 years instead of 30 - yet it’s full of complexity." 

"Balance and length"

James Suckling (97-98) -

"This is refined and, at the same time, structured. Shows balance and length. Full-bodied, savory, fruity and supple. Classically styled Ornellaia." 

"Silky, aromatic Ornellaia"

Vinous Media -

"The 2018 Ornellaia is an introvert at this stage. Medium in body, with terrific persistence and impeccable balance, the 2018 is not in any mood to show all its cards today. Hints of red berry fruit, mocha, spice, licorice and dried flowers emerge with a bit of coaxing. I won’t be surprised to see it put on weight with more time in bottle. There is certainly plenty to look forward to. Readers should expect a silky, aromatic Ornellaia in line with vintages such as 2004 that are more about finesse than raw power. This is the first time in which Merlot drives the blend in Ornellaia." 

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

Ornellaia Bianco

IGT Toscana

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.

Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

Bolgheri DOC Rosso

Coming primarily from the Ornellaia's younger vineyard sites and made with the same passion and attention to detail as the estate's flagship wine, Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia combines generosity and depth of flavor with an engaging and vibrant personality.

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia

Toscana IGT Bianco

Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia is one of Italy's most innovative and progressive white wines, providing an altogether different experience of the Ornellaia estate and its Mediterranean influences.

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia

Toscana IGT

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia combines a Mediterranean expression of generosity with structure and complexity, reflecting the philosophy of Ornellaia. It represents the first step into the Ornellaia family, and is an ideal wine for everyday enjoyment.

Ornus dell'Ornellaia

Toscana Bianco IGT

Ornus dell’Ornellaia is a late harvest Petit Manseng produced in extremely limited quantities and gives yet another dimension to the Estate. In certain vintages conditions are perfect in the tiny “Palmetta” vineyard for the production of this exclusive dessert wine. The name Ornus dell’Ornellaia takes its inspiration from ‘Fraxinus Ornus’, the Latin name for the Manna or Flowering Ash (in Italian, Orniello), the tree which has given its name to the Ornellaia. The “Manna Ash” Orniello or ‘Fraxinus Ornus’ is a tree which is typical to the Mediterranean coastal area. Its precious sap has been used since Biblical times as a sweetener and acts as a perfect link to the sweetness of Ornus dell’Ornellaia.