The 2021 Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia packs a huge punch. Masses of dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, leather, licorice and cloves saturate the palate. I don't remember a Serre Nuove with this much sheer power and somber intensity, but the balance is there, especially with aeration. It will be interesting to see how the 2021 develops. Today it is quite the powerhouse.
Drink 2025 - 2036
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (August 2023)
The 2021 Bolgheri Rosso Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia is a nicely extracted and rich blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This vintage is very generous, even opulent, with dark fruit that is framed by exotic spice, baking chocolate and softly toasted tones from French oak. The wine ends on a creamy note with vanilla and cinnamon. The oak needs a few more years to integrate.
Drink 2024 - 2033
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (May 2023)
A firm and linear red with currant, berry, chocolate and cedar character. It’s medium- to full-bodied. Fine tannins that run the length of the wine. It’s tight and focused. Energetic and bright. 50% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest split equally between Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
Better after 2026
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (August 2023)
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.
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 Blend
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.