The First Growth of Italy, the quintessential Super Tuscan and one of the greatest wines in the world. These are just some of the ways to describe Ornellaia, whose name has become a synonym for finesse and class in the world of wine. Today we are absolutely thrilled to offer a highly anticipated new release, the 2018 vintage of Ornellaia.

“This is an Ornellaia with strength in elegance,” James Suckling has said about this release. In 2018 a long and cool growing season resulted in wines which are more about grace, than power. Ornellaia 2018 encapsulates personality of the year perfectly and its elegant character is admired by many critics, with Antonio Galloni of Vinous noting, “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.” Such silkiness and refinement may is not only due to the vintage. This is the first time Merlot is dominating the Ornellaia blend, constituting about 51% of the wine, the rest being made up mostly by Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a small proportion of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Deliciously balanced and complex, Ornellaia 2018 is “an introvert at this stage”, as characterised by Galloni, but it will certainly show all of its beauty and splendour in the years to come.

Ornellaia is characterised by its wonderful structure and extremely complex flavours, remaining the most Bordeaux-esque style Super Tuscan. Known for its ability to age gracefully for decades, it is a must have for all great wine collections. The critics’ scores of today’s release are in line with the epic 2016 and 2010 vintages, yet the 2018 is offered at a discounted price, available today at £800 IB per case of six.

Every year since 2009, Ornellaia has commissioned a leading artist to express the character of the new vintage in sculpture and label art. For the 2018 vintage, the estate called upon Belgian artist Jan Fabre to interpret ‘La Grazia’ – or grace. The result is a series of three sculptures, ‘A Candle of Mercy’, ‘The Crown of Kindness’, and ‘The Heart of Virtue’, made from coral, each topping a salmanazar of Ornellaia 2018. In addition, Fabre also produced a set of 10 labels. One bottle in each case of Ornellaia 2018 will feature one of his unique designs.

Founded in 1981, Ornellaia is approaching its 40th anniversary. There is very little that separates this estate from its Super Tuscan counterpart, Sassicaia. 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.