Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2018
Characterized by a lively ruby red colour, Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove is a wine of great aromatic complexity, a distinctive feature of this vintage. In the glass, aromas of berries, blackberry, raspberry and red cherry are accompanied by floral hints of wild rose and spicy notes of pink pepper and liquorice. On tasting, the wine has a good tannic structure, enveloping and balanced, with a crisp and savoury finish.
An elegant blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 17% Petit Verdot
After several years in which winter seemed to be little more than a memory, 2018 brought a return to normal climatic conditions, with temperatures spending enough time below zero for the vines to begin their well-deserved winter rest. That 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 buds 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 red grape harvest began on the 31st of August with the Merlot and ended on the 8th of October with the later-ripening varieties.
The clusters were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after de-stemming, and finally gently crushed. Each variety and each parcel was vinified separately. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel, at temperatures of between 26° and 30°C for two weeks followed by maceration of around 10-15 days. Malolactic fermentation was started in stainless steel, and completed after transfer to barrels (25% new and 75% a year old). The wine remained in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellar for a further 15 months. It was assembled after the first 12 months and then reintroduced in the barrels for a further 3 months. After bottling, it was aged for an additional six months prior to release.
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AWARDS & ACCOLADES
The aromas of currants, tobacco, chocolate and mushrooms are very attractive here. It’s full-bodied with juicy tannins and a flavorful, round-textured finish. Gorgeous wine and very approachable now, but better in 2023.
The 2018 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is everything a second wine should be. Open-knit and silky, with impeccable balance and tons of sheer appeal, the 2018 is exquisite today. I would prefer to drink it on the early side in order to capture all of its freshness. In some vintages, Le Serre Nuove can be a bit imposing; in 2018 is all charm and seduction. Drinking window: 2022 – 2033
Crackling with personality, this has a lovely mix of dark chocolate shavings, liquorice, sweet cedar, raspberry, sage and Tuscan underbrush. Really one to savour, holds its grip through the palate and is juicy, nuanced and mouthwatering. A brilliant second wine, made mainly from the younger vines of Ornellaia. 17% Petit Verdot completes the blend. Aged in oak (25% new) for 15 months, with six months further ageing in bottle before release.
The 2018 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that is aged in oak for 15 months. The wine shows depth, concentration and generous fruit weight that adds to the intensity and the textural importance of this abundant, full-bodied expression. Late-season rains threw some challenges at the winemakers of Bolgheri, but this open-knit wine has emerged unscathed. This vintage was released in September of last year, but I have also written a review in this report of the younger 2019 vintage (which will be released in September of this year).