- BOLGHERI DOC SUPERIORE
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
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.
THE 1999 GROWING SEASON
Winter this year was more severe than in 1998, with budbreak occurring one week later. Spring was within
average parameters however, with normal levels of rain and temperatures, so that flowering and vegetative
growth proceeded at a rate very close to the previous year. Optimal weather conditions during flowering
ensured better-than-average fruit set and a larger-than-expected crop per vine. A hot, rainless summer brought
an early ‘veraison’, one week earlier than in recent years, and the berries were of good quality and uniform size.
In early July, cluster-thinning was carried out in Merlot, removing up to 50% of the clusters in some vineyards
and 10% in others, while Cabernet lost about 10%. The Merlot harvest started during the first week in
September and continued through the middle of the month. At that point, picking began in the Cabernet
Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, which concluded in the beginning of October. The fruit brought into the
cellar was in outstanding condition and exhibited uniform ripeness. All the grapes were hand-picked into
small, 15-kg boxes. It is noteworthy that this year’s Cabernet Sauvignon is of particularly fine quality.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
On harvesting, the grapes were destemmed and crushed before being introduced partially in wooden
fermentors and partially in stainless steel tanks where alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature not
exceeding 30°C. Maceration continued for a period of 20-25 days after which the wine was transferred into
new French oak barriques (60% new and 40% once-used) where it completed its malolactic fermentation. Each
single variety and each vineyard lot was aged separately. The wine remained in barriques in the temperature
controlled cellars at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia for a period of 18 months. After the first 12 months the master
blend was made and the wine was reintroduced into the barriques for the remaining 6 months period and
then bottled. A further refinement period of 12 months in the bottle followed, prior to release.