This morning we are thrilled to be able to release Ornellaia 2016, the most exciting in its history. The 2016 vintage in Tuscany follows on from the 2015 in terms of exceptional quality. It is being likened early on in profile to extremely balanced years such as the great 2006, 2008 and 2010 – the modern greats, even at this nascent stage, suggesting it could be the finest ever. The market is frenzied, Sassicaia 2016 has already risen 53% in price from £750 to £1,150  per case of six since release last month. Ornellaia 2016 follows suit boasting 96-98 points from Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate, who proclaims ‘Now we’re talking. It delivers the most beautiful sensations of Softness, Succulence and Structure. The balance between those three S’s is Sublime.’ James Suckling awards it 97-98 points, ‘Full body and firm and silk tannins. Love the texture. Umami character everywhere. Goes on for minutes.’ There we have it, what could be the greatest ever Ornellaia, one for the ages. Our first tranche release price today is £900 per case of six.

Ornellaia is simply one of the greatest wines in the world and one of the First Growths of Italy. Over the last ten years Ornellaia has averaged 95.2 points from the Wine Advocate making it one of the most critically acclaimed estates worldwide. In 2016 production was down 20% to around 9,500 cases. The Place de Bordeaux now distribute Ornellaia to Asia, Europe and US, meaning the label might as well say ‘sold out’. That said, as with all modern vintages each case of six contains one label with a special design. This marks the 11th edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista, this year it is American-Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat. It has been given the moniker ‘La Tensione’, to interpret the character of the sublime 2016. In 2016 Ornellaia has chosen the moniker “La Tensione” for the design, to interpret the character of Ornellaia 2016. Ornellaia is characterised by its opulent fruit, wonderful structure and extremely complex flavours, it remains the most Bordeaux-esque style Super Tuscan and intelligibly a must have for all great wine collections. Ornellaia 2016 will be a jewel in any cellar.

Antonio Galloni says of Ornellaia’s Le Serre Nuove that ‘In top vintages it is the hidden gem in this (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s) lineup from a price to quality perspective’. The 2016 could possibly be the best Le Serre Nuove ever; a truly great wine in its own right. While Ornellaia is undoubtedly the flagship wine, Le Serre Nuove offers exceptional value for those who wish to benefit from the pedigree of one of the most renowned Super Tuscan estates. The first vintage of Le Serre Nuove was produced in 1997, the vintage when Ornellaia chose to make further selections during the blending of their first wine. It is chiefly made from younger Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vines; some of these make it into Ornellaia to give the wine more energy and lift.

It is a powerful wine, combining a full body, fresh acidity and focused aromatics. The Merlot provides a depth and long fruit-driven mid-palate; the fruit concentration is spectacular, all knit together with the refined structure and ripe, sweetly focused tannins. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot creates an aromatic very similar to Left Bank Bordeaux wines, with flavours of tobacco, herbs, roasted coffee beans and mocha.

Le Serre Nouve 2016 has been awarded 94 points from Monica Larner who says it ‘is a fantastic interpretation from Bolgheri. The 2016… is made with fruit from the same vineyard plots that go into the Ornellaia, only this is a second selection’. As the second wine of Ornellaia it is highly allocated and we never have enough to release it. Le Serre Nuove normally goes out on small private allocations for those in the know, however, given the grandeur of the vintage, we have managed to secure a further parcel, value proposition here is outrageous.

History of Ornellaia

There is very little that separates Ornellaia from Sassicaia, least of all their history. Mario Incisa della Rocchetta (then owner of Sassicaia) planted vines in the 1940s, reportedly using cuttings from Lafite Rothschild. Ornellaia was planted in 1981 by Marchese Lodovico Antinori, cousin to Nicolo Incisa (the son of Mario). It is located adjacent to Sassicaia on the northern Maremma section of Bolgheri, overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea and is the answer to his cousin’s Estate, Sassicaia.

In 1985 they released their first vintage, but did not fully compete with Sassicaia until the late 1990s, since which time it has fought to supplant Sassicaia as the leading Super Tuscan. Over the last 15 years Ornellaia has produced wine that critically speaking has equalled, if not bettered Sassicaia, and the price now reflects this. It also produces 12,000 cases compared to Sassicaia’s 15,000 and only one third goes to the Italian market; such is its international acclaim.

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