About Ornellaia 2018 Bolgheri Superiore
One of Italy's most iconic wines. The Estate lies semi-concealed in the foothills near Bolgheri, just a few kilometers 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 the grape varieties can best express themselves. The desire to nurture the Estate's exceptional qualities has shaped Ornellaia's philosophy since the beginning. Ornellaia is a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot and the faithful expression of unique terroir developed in harmony with nature.
This 2018 is 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The clusters were hand-picked and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softly crushed. In 2016, optical sorting was introduced in addition to manual selection, in order to further increase the quality of selection. Each grape variety and single vineyard block were vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel and concrete tanks for one week, followed by maceration for about 15 days, for a total time in the vat of about three weeks. The malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.
James Suckling scored this tasting from barrel, 97-98 points saying "This is refined and, at the same time, structured. Shows balance and length. Full-bodied, savory, fruity and supple. Classically styled Ornellaia."
Vinous scored this 97 points saying "The 2018 Ornellaia is an introvert at this stage. Medium in body, with terrific persistence and impeccable balance, the 2018 is not in any mood to show all its cards today. Hints of red berry fruit, mocha, spice, licorice and dried flowers emerge with a bit of coaxing. I won’t be surprised to see it put on weight with more time in bottle. There is certainly plenty to look forward to. Readers should expect a silky, aromatic Ornellaia in line with vintages such as 2004 that are more about finesse than raw power. This is the first time in which Merlot drives the blend in Ornellaia."