Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore
Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore has a natural style that needs no ceremony. Its intense and dark colour heralds a wine of beautiful concentration. Incredible depth on the complex nose releases aromas of black fruit, sweet tobacco and vanilla. Full-bodied and dry, the palate reveals great balance, a pleasant freshness as well as ripe and firm tannins. Rich blackberry and blackcurrant fruit flavours with endless layers of coffee, tobacco, chocolate and oak spice. Closes in a powerful and long finish. Beyond impressive.
One of the most highly acclaimed Italian wineries, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is famous for crafting some of the most sought-after wines from Bolgheri. Semi-concealed 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, whilst the hills provide protection from the cold north winds in winter. Ornellaia believes that a wine should be the most authentic expression of the unique terroir it originates from. 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.
The cuvée is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from Ornellaia’s vineyards. Manual harvesting of the different varietals then double sorting selection, destemming and a soft crushing. The vinification of each grape variety and single vineyard block occurs separately. Fermentation in stainless steel and concrete tanks at temperatures below 25°C for a week. Next is a 10–15 day maceration period. Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% second fill. The wine then remains in barriques and ages for about 18 months in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine is assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine ages for a further 12 months before release.
Ageing potential: This is a wine to lay on its side. It will continue to evolve beautifully for 20 years!
Want more Super Tuscans?
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
A big, rich wine for the vintage, yet poised and lively with firm, chewy tannins that give form and intensity to the wine. It shows loads of blackberry, blackcurrant and walnut flavors. Ripe yet polished tannins.
– 97 POINTS
A stunning wine, the 2017 Ornellaia offers a captivating interplay of richness and energy. Picking early was the key. Young vine Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc were harvested in August for the first time ever. In the glass, the 2017 offers up an enticing mélange of mocha, cedar, tobacco and licorice, with soft curves that add to its sensuality and allure. The 2017 is sumptuous and racy, as Ornellaias from warmer years tend to be, but it is not at all heavy or overdone. In a word: superb!
– 97 POINTS
Rich, deep dark ruby with a violet shimmer. Intense and clearly laid out nose, smells of blueberries, dark currants, with some cardamom and liquorice. Lardy and full in approach and course, lots of ripe dark berry fruit, fine, grippy tannin, firm pressure in the finale, ends on berry fruit and liquorice.
– 96 POINTS
The 2017 vintage of Ornellaia is called Solare and represents the 12th edition in the estate’s Vendemmia d’Artista series featuring artwork by Tomás Saraceno. His beautiful art depicts a radiant sun halo and is intended as a symbol of sustainability. That theme of sunshine and warmth is particularly well suited to a vintage such as this. The Ornellaia 2017 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia is generous and fruit-forward with dense richness and concentration all driven by the smaller and more compact berry size that characterizes this dry, hot growing season. Black and purple fruits segue to spice, tobacco, leather and some of those beautiful Mediterranean notes of black olive and wild sage. These various moving pieces work together in perfect harmony. The tannins are beautifully managed here. If you consider the more astringent and rougher approach of the mid-tier Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia, this wine shows a whole other level of magnificent tannic management that could not have been easy given the diminutive berry size. This vintage sees a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Franc.
– 96 POINTS
From a hot vintage in Bolgheri, the 2017 Ornellaia is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and the rest close to an even split of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc that spent 18 months in French oak. It doesn’t match the 2016, but it’s a beautiful wine offering complex notes of red and black fruits, chocolate, roasted herbs, licorice, and dried earth. This carries to a full-bodied Ornellaia with a rich, concentrated mid-palate, ripe, mouthcoating tannins, and a great finish. It shows the dry, hot vintage yet stays lively and holds onto a sense of elegance. I followed this bottle for multiple days and it only improved with air. This is a beautiful, elegant Ornellaia that will evolve for 30-40 years or more.
In 2017 the production of Ornellaia (a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Franc) was reduced by 15% due to the heat. Known as one of the most powerful and long-lived wines from Bolgheri, it doesn’t deceive its style. The estate was one of the few able to wait out the rain of mid-September to harvest the late-ripening varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Vinous first due to an extremely youthful cassis fruit character, it’s crunchy and extracted on the palate with a cedar wood flavour, crisp acidity and plenty of tannins. It flows to a ripe finish, warming yet balanced. It’s not properly ready to drink yet but it will develop complexity with ageing. From 1-9 September 2020, Sotheby’s will be hosting the online auction of the large formats of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista 2017, whose proceeds will be donated to the ‘Mind’s Eye’ program created by the educational department of the Guggenheim Foundation.
– 94 POINTS
Though well-oaked, this features ample black cherry, plum and loam flavors to match the vanilla and sweet spice elements. Harmonious and accessible at this young stage, but will be better in a few years once the components harmonize. Vibrant and long. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2022 through 2038.