Tenuta dell' Ornellaia
Ornellaia is one of the foremost producers in the Bolgheri appellation on the coast of Tuscany. It is particularly known for making one of Italy's most famous and expensive wines, which shares the same name.
This Bordeaux-style blend is one of the original Super Tuscans. It is made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, instead of Tuscany's most famous variety, Sangiovese.
The vineyard, which neighbours Sassacaia in Tuscany's coastal Maremma region, enjoys gentle sea breezes, which mitigate the summer heat, and is sheltered by neighbouring hills from cold winter winds. The soils are a complex mix of alluvial, volcanic and marine elements, providing a good base for the Bordeaux varieties planted here.
After hand-picking and careful selection – firstly by bunch and secondly grape by grape – each variety and each vineyard block is vinified separately in stainless steel tanks. Ornellaia is aged for around 18 months in oak, 70 percent of which is new.
Grapes which do not make the cut for the top wine (primarily from the estate's younger vineyards) are redirected to Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia, the second wine of the estate. This usually has more Merlot, and less time in oak.
2015 brought a statement of confidence in the terroir's suitability for great white wine, with the release of the maiden (2013) vintage of Ornellaia Bianco. This is a blend with a majority of Sauvignon Blanc sourced from three small estate vineyards identified as producing particularly expressive fruit.
The Ornellaia portfolio also includes Le Volte dell'Ornellaia, which is based on Merlot, Poggio alla Gazze dell'Ornellaia, a Sauvignon Blanc-based white. Finally, Ornus dell'Ornellaia, a late-harvest Petit Manseng.
The company was founded in 1981 by Marchese Lodovico Antinori, with the first vintage in 1985. From 2002 to 2005 the estate was co-owned by Robert Mondavi and Marchesi De Frescobaldi but, since 2005 Frescobaldi has owned it outright. Michel Rolland has been the consultant winemaker since 1991.