The wine shows sweet fruit nuances with blackberry and dark currant. Spice, leather and tobacco fill in the rear. The finish reveals just enough of that acidic prickle to assure an easy ten or fifteen year drinking window. Wine Advocate
Located in the foothills near Bolgheri, Ornellaia was established in 1981 and released its first vintage, 1985, in 1988. Since its inception, Ornellaia has been crafting iconic wines that aim at representing the most authentic expressions of the terroir from which it originates and the character of each year. The extensive parcels of vineyards that create the estate fit well into an unspoilt landscape resulting in a work of extraordinary beauty, complexity and elegance. Together with the maritime climate, the heterogeneous nature of the land and the estate – of marine, alluvial and volcanic origin – creates a distinct environment where red and white varieties can best express themselves. Sustainable viticulture is an integral part of Ornellaia’s production philosophy and is based on the economic longevity of structures and territories, the qualitative production and the enhancement of the heritage and landscape of the Bolgheri area along with its historical, cultural and ecological aspects.
THE 2014 GROWING SEASON
34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot, 14% Cabernet Franc.
A warm and wet winter was followed by a mild and dry spring which allowed a normal vegetative growth with a punctual and regular flowering. The weather in July was perfect, August however was rainy and cold, creating very difficult conditions for ripening, and greatly increasing the risk of diseases. The meticulous work in the vineyard, with leaf stripping and treatments during the entire month of August enabled us to maintain the good health of our vines, allowing them to develop free of disease during September and October. These two months of perfect conditions, with mostly sunny and dry weather, gave us excellent conditions for ripening. During the harvest, it was crucial to carefully select the grape bunches, both in the vineyard – where in some plots we had done up to three harvest passages – and on the selection table, so to fill the tanks only with perfectly healthy and fully ripe grape. 2014 was one of the longest and most delayed harvest at Ornellaia, with the first Merlot harvested the 6th of September, and a large part of the historical vineyards – including some Merlot – harvested in October. The 2014 harvest, that ended on the 22nd of October, was the latest ever.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
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. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. 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.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“2014 was one of the most demanding years in memory of, and has allowed us to produce high quality wines that are offering great delight. The late ripening of the grapes allowed the fruit to fully express its liveliness and freshness. What is particularly striking is the high quality of the tannins on the palate: silky, refined, without rough edges. This year represents the heart of the estate, Ornellaia’s ‘Essence’: its natural style, the exceptional quality of its terroir, and the competence of those who work in the vineyards and the cellar.”