One of the most acclaimed Italian wineries, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is famous for crafting some of the most sought-after wines from Bolgheri. Part of the original “Super-Tuscans”, the eponymous wine, Ornellaia, is an ode to the Mediterranean character of this stretch of the Tuscan coast. Under the guidance of head winemaker Alex Heinz, they possess a full range of vibrant, long-lived, elegant wines that loudly exemplify the potential of their unique terroir. Their range includes red wines, whites, dessert, grappa and even olive oil – all crafted with the same meticulous attention.
History – The Frescobaldi Family
For 700 years, the Frescobaldi family has combined tradition, experience and innovation with creativity and the pursuit of excellence. The family has always looked to develop and celebrate the diversity of Tuscany’s terroir, being proud owners of some of the greatest vineyards in this region.
They always seek to maintain the identity and autonomy of each property.
Ornellaia, perceived as one of the world’s iconic wineries, has flourished under the Frescobaldi family’s ownership. It is just one of the estates owned by the family alongside Attems (Friuli), Masseto, Danzante, Luce Della Vite and the six Frescobaldi Estates (Nipozzano, CastelGiocondo, Pomino, Ammiraglia, Castiglioni and Remole).
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, 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 and it is right here that, together with 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 endless parcels of vineyards fit well into this unspoilt landscape, like tesserae in a large mosaic, creating a work of extraordinary beauty, complexity and elegance in a truly unique place. Experience, expertise and determination have played their part in enhancing Ornellaia’s quality and reputation, but it is the estate itself that is a constant source of inspiration and which constantly suggests new and exclusive ways to capture its great generosity.
Their Winemaking Philosophy
Their production philosophy revolves around Ornellaia’s obsession with excellence – at all levels. Every choice they make is of absolute importance and implies an all-consuming attention to detail. At no point in the production process are shortcuts allowed or tolerated, and this is how they succeed in harvesting grapes that are of the very highest quality irrespective of the climatic conditions in that particular year.
During the harvest period, analysis and empiric testing enables them to determine which grapes to pick and in which order. The tasting of the grapes allows them to better ascertain the ripeness of the tannins and the balance within the bunches in order to establish the optimum harvest time and the vinification technique for the grapes from each parcel of land. They then subject each and every grape to a double selection process. The quality of the bunches are checked on the first table, then every single piece of vegetation is removed during the second selection.
The grapes from each vineyard ferment separately in individual tanks, so that each individual base wine (of which there are more than 60) can contribute its own character to the final blend. The character of each wine is influenced according to the specific conditions of the vineyard area that it comes from: a combination of soil type, climatic exposition, grape variety, etc. Only after a period of 12 months of ageing in French oak barrels will the base wines be selected and blended according to 2 principal criteria: the elegant expression required by Ornellaia and the character of vintage itself.
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