deVine Thoughts

August 10, 2011

2007 & 2008 Ornellaia

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 9:32 pm

ornellaiaAuthor: Dirk Chan

One of the great Super-Tuscan estates, the Tenuta dell’Ornellaia was founded in 1981 in what has proved to be one of Italy’s most interesting and expressive wine-making areas, the maritime hills of Bolgheri within the greater wine region of Maremma. This is a great region for fine food and wine and although for centuries it was considered unfit for vineyards, in the past few decades this coastal area has become one of the most ultra exclusive wine producing regions of Italy. Ornellaia’s 97-hectare estate stretches out along the Tyrrhenian Sea, just north of the Maremma between Leghorn and the Island of Elba, and is the birthplace of the now-iconic and highly collectible wines, the Bordeaux inspired Ornellaia and the Merlot based Masseto.

Founded in 1981 by Marchese Lodovico Antinori, brother of the powerful and esteemed Piero Antinori of Solaia fame, it has been this writer’s favourite Super Tuscan, its consistency is flabbergasting – I can’t remember a less than stellar vintage in the last 15 years. Its success is due both to its staunch commitment to the philosophy of “quality without compromise” and to the unique climate and terrain. While in some ways similar to Bordeaux, the estate’s terroir is truly something special with its marine, alluvial and clayey volcanic soils, allowing each grape variety to be planted in its ideal type of soil.

Ornellaia is owned by Frescobaldi, a huge conglomerate and enjoys some famous neighbours such as Sassicaia, the original Super Tuscan. Ornellaia is a Cabernet-Merlot blend (there is no Sangiovese here) that first stepped onto the scene in 1985. The wine is aged in approximately 70% new oak – French barriques – for anywhere from 15-21 months on average. The 2006-2007-2008 trio is already legendary, and while the 2006 is all sold out, we do have some 2007 left and are welcoming the new arrival of the brilliant 2008.

Remarkable depth of fruit and power in these two wines with the classic house style with arresting aromas of black cherry, anise, mocha, dark chocolate, along with the sweet creamy vanilla notes. Each wine is full-bodied with excellent complexity and the structure to age for 20-25 years, perhaps longer.

The 2007 is an extraordinary wine, superbly balanced with ideal acidity and an extremely long finish with strong notes of mocha and anise. The 2008 is extremely deep in color -bright ruby red with evident purple hues and offers beautiful ripeness and excellent persistence. Both are future legends that belong in any serious collection. Look out for a Top Drops vertical tasting of this wine in 2012.

2007 Ornellaia (Tuscany) – $189.99

2008 Ornellaia (Tuscany) – $189.99

Ornellaia is certainly one of the great wines in all of Italy, and given its youth (less than 30 year old winery), we can look forward to many more legends to come..

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