Since its inception, Ornellaia’s production has been influenced and inspired by the Mediterranean character of the coast near Bolgheri. Founded in 1981, Ornellaia has helped establishing this relatively young viticultural area and it is now regarded as one of the world’s most iconic estates.
Nestled in the foothills near Bolgheri, Ornellaia lies just a few kilometres from the Mediterranean coast. During the summer months, the cool sea breeze caresses the vineyards and nearby olive groves, while during the winter the hills provide protection from the cold north winds. Ornellaia believes that a wine should be the most authentic expression of the terroir from which it originates. The 115ha of vineyards benefit from a unique combination of maritime climate and a complex mosaic of marine, alluvial and volcanic soils – creating a distinct environment where red and white varieties can best express themselves.
The grapes were hand-harvested in 15 kg crates 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 10 months on the lees with periodic batonnage over the entire period and concluded in steel vats for 2 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.
After several years in which winter seemed to be little more than a memory, 2018 brought a return to normal climatic conditions. Temperatures spent 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 we 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 Sauvignon Blanc harvest started on the 16th of August and continued until mid-September. The Viognier was harvest during the last days of August.
“2018 was the longest Sauvignon Blanc harvest in the history of Ornellaia. Picking started shortly after mid-August and ended on September 12th when the last bunches of Sauvignon Blanc were brought into the cellar. With its intense straw-yellow colour, this wine is characterised by aromas of exotic fruit accompanied by mild hints of finely roasted vanilla. On the palate it shows rich, dense with sweet fruit, perfectly balanced by a savoury tanginess.”
Olga Fusari – Winemaker
“The 2018 Ornellaia Bianco is a powerful, dense wine. Orchard fruit, chamomile, saline notes and dried flowers open in the glass, but only with great reluctance. A rich white, the 2018 Bianco possesses tremendous weight, but it is also very much closed in on itself. I am intrigued to see how the 2018 ages.”
93+ Points – Antonio Galloni
Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy
91% Sauvignon Blanc,