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 bâtonnage 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.
More than most vintages, the year 2019 was characterised by a highly variable climate, which alternated periods of cold and rain with long bouts of drought and heat. After a normal winter, the budding took place in the first week of April. The cold and rainy conditions throughout April and May significantly slowed down the vegetative vine growth, leading to a 10-day delay in flowering compared to the average. Very hot, rainless weather suddenly arrived in June, reaching temperature peaks of 37°C at the end of the month. The weather stayed warm and sunny throughout the summer with temperatures 2°C above average and 45 consecutive days without rain. The long dry period was interrupted by two days of rain in the last week of July, bringing the temperature back to the seasonal norm, with ideal conditions for ripening.
Harvesting of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes began on August 19th and continued until the first days of September, while the Viognier grapes were picked in the last days of August.
“Ornellaia Bianco 2019, straw yellow in colour with green hues, it reveals great complexity on the nose: vegetal and balsamic notes of sage, thyme and herbs stand out, accompanied by scents of white-fleshed fruit. A delicate note of vanilla completes the aromatic profile.
In the mouth the wine is full and velvety, with a nice density that fills the palate finely. The taste closes with a persistent and savoury finish, with a minerality that strongly links it to its area of origin.”
Olga Fusari – Winemaker
“Enticing waves of perfectly judged gunsmoke reduction on the first nose, dancing across the palate and hinting at minerality rather than closing things down. Fragrant, joyous, chiselled citrus, lime, chamomile and lemongrass, with a slate scrape texture giving grip, depth and persistency. I’ve said it before, but I put this right up there with my favourite dry white wines, alongside Pavillon Blanc, Remelluri Bianco and Penfold Yattarna. This is winemaker Axel Heinz working his magic. Love it.”
98 Points – Jane Anson
“So sophisticated and elegant, a brilliant expression of Sauvignon Blanc with smoky, stone, lemon aromas alongside pear and green apple – aromatic and so open. Excellent mouthfeel, there’s such a lovely weight, slightly viscous with a hint of sweetness but then you get this clarity and complexity from clear aromatics but also the freshness. Nothing is too much, each part playing out in terms of weight, structure, acidity and length. It’s the succulence then at the same time the salinity that captivated me, the two playing against each other with the support from plumped up and cushioned fruit giving the overall weight. Really lovely – a treat to taste.”
97 Points – Decanter, Georgina Hindle
“The 2019 Ornellaia Bianco is a very reserved wine. It does not appear to have the depth of some of its predecessors, but that is mostly attributable to a shift in picking earlier and using more large format oak. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint, sage and green pear lend energy to this taut, Bordeaux-inspired blend. Readers should plan on cellaring this for at least a year.”
94 Points – Antonio Galloni
Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy
81% Sauvignon Blanc,