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 clusters were hand-picked into small 15 kg boxes in the early morning hours and immediately chilled on arrival at the cellar in order to fully preserve their aromatic compounds. After a meticulous quality selection, the whole clusters were given a very slow, gradual pressing, while great care was exercised to prevent oxidation of the fruit. After gravity settling of some 12 hours, the separate lots of must were put to barriques, 25% of which new and 25% used, in steel tanks and in concrete vats (50%). Fermentation temperatures did not exceed 22°C, and the wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. The wine matured on the fine lees for 6 months, with regular bâtonnage throughout the period, followed by the assemblage of the final blend. After a light fining, it rested an additional 12 months in the bottle before release.
After a few years that almost made us forget what winter was like, 2018 brought the weather conditions back to normal, with a number of days with temperatures below zero that were sufficient for the vines to begin their well-deserved winter rest. Spring will be remembered as one of the rainiest in history, with three times more rainfall than the seasonal average and high temperatures in April. Despite the late budding, the weather conditions and the rapid growth of the shoots allowed the vines to catch up and even flower a full week early. Even if it rained less in June than in May, there was above-average rainfall throughout June, and a break came only in July with a warm and dry month. The veraison took place between 22 and 25 July and the month of August was as hot as the previous year, but with slightly more rain. The sugars and acidity developed slowly, while the berries grew to larger dimensions thanks to the high level of water present in the soil. In September the weather was warm and it did not rain. The temperatures were higher than the seasonal average, but the cooler nights allowed the vines to recover and preserve the grapes’ aromas and acidity.
We began to harvest the Sauvignon Blancs on 16 August and continued until mid-September, after which the Vermentinos were harvested between 17 and 25 September.
“Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2018 has a classic straw-yellow colour. The nose presents intense aromas of white-fleshed fruits, accompanied by delicate notes of vanilla. On the palate it is initially ample and soft; the wine reveals a great richness and marked tanginess that lead to a fresh and persistent finish.”
Olga Fusari – Winemaker
Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy
83% Sauvignon Blanc,