2020 Le Volte dell'Ornellaia, Tuscany, Italy
The 2020 Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is a bright, vibrant red to drink now and over the next handful of years. Sweet red cherry, mint, cedar, tobacco and peppery notes lend energy. There’s terrific aromatic complexity to play off the rich, deep fruit. The 2020 is a terrific Le Volte. One of the recent evolutions here is a focus on Merlot rather than Sangiovese, as it was in the early days. I would give this a few months in bottle, as the tannins are a bit rustic in the early going.
Drink 2022 - 2029
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Mar 2022)
Bright and young on the nose, smells like freshly-picked red cherries, almost like sweets, blackcurrant and cherry sweets braced by bramble fruits and soft perfume. Softly creamy and chalky on the palate, strawberries and red cherries have a chalky texture and quite a perfume to the flavour profile. There is fruit there but then it's subdued a little by a savoury wood aspect, sweet vanilla and spiced clove that edges the palate. Feels a little disconnected at the moment, not all in harmony, but it has a charm to it and will be approachable earlier. One that will give a lot of pleasure.
Drink 2023 - 2035
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (Feb 2022)
About this WINE
Tenuta dell’Ornellaia is located in one of the world’s most exciting wine regions: Bolgheri. A breathtaking avenue lined by towering cypress trees leads inland from the Aurelia, the old Roman coastal road, up to the walls of Bolgheri’s medieval hamlet. From the village the view extends far out to sea and on a clear day the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago and Corsica can be seen.
The mild maritime climate and the lush Mediterranean vegetation leave an imprint upon the character of the wines. Tenuta dell’Ornellaia's unique territory guides all aspects of production: limited quantities to ensure maximum quality, attention to every detail, selective hand harvesting, microvinification and ageing.
Ornellaia is a Cabernet/Merlot wine blend. Masseto is made entirely from Merlot - it is a model of rich, silky elegance and has rapidly become a modern classic.
Bolgheri is a new DOC in the coastal Maremma region which first rose to prominence during the 1970s with the emergence of the so-called Super Tuscan wines like Ornellaia and Sassicaia. These new ventures had rocked the DOC establishment by using high proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, opting out of the DOC system and relabeling their wines as simply Vino da Tavola (table wine).
Having won universal acclaim and exchanging hands for unprecedented prices (higher even than Tuscany's finest examples), the authorities relented and awarded Bolgheri its own DOC. The actions of the Super Tuscans inspired a generation in Italy, even if some of the wines here have lost a little of their lustre since.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.
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Since its introduction over 30 years ago, Le Volte dell’Ornellaia has become a benchmark for fine Tuscan wine in its own right. Half the blend sees six months of oak-ageing in French barrique, giving a polished frame and some sweet oak seasoning. Fresh and fruity on the palate, the ’20 vintage has supple and gentle tannins with dark cherry, cranberry and smoky blackberry characters. There is refreshment and restraint – a nod to the great winemaking talents behind this label. Drink now to 2028.
Davy Żyw, Senior Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (Mar 2022)
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