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Ornellaia 1990 to 2010

Our Tenuta dell’Ornellaia UK importer friends hosted a fascinating tasting last week featuring an interesting array of vintages.  The tasting was led by GM and agronomist, Leonardo Raspini and and Winemaker, Axel Heinz.

The tasting started with two vintages of Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia whose inaugural vintage was 1997.

2010 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

These second wines always struggle in cooler vintages and this is no different.  The nose is slightly dusty, lacking definition of fruit.  The palate is four-square and lacking mid palate fruit.  Light and easy drink to enjoy young.

2004 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

Much better fruit on the nose with stoned fruit.  Very soft and pleasant on palate.  Holding up nicely but needs drinking up.

The estate’s Flagship wine, Ornellaia, started in 1985.  I’ve tasted the 1985 on a couple of occasions and it is impressive with vibrant fruit and decent power for a first vintage.  Our tasting last week included 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1999, 1990.

2010 Ornellaia

The latest release was born from a very late harvest of about 10 days later than normal.  It also boasts a very high percentage of Merlot of 40%.  It is quite intense and pure with sweet perfume, lead pencil and goudron.  Tight, focussed, elegant and vibrant.  This very pleasant and will probably be drinking earlier than the great 2006-2009.

2009 Ornellaia

The 2009 is a blockbuster with a heady, candied nose of flowers.  It is tannic with a good depth of fruit and high alcohol but all in balance.  A bit OTT at the moment and needs time to settle.

2008 Ornellaia

This was a bit closed on nose lacking definition and expression.  On the palate, however, it had great energy power, depth and density of fruit. Very aromatic development of fruit on the palate and a long, intense finish.  This will be very fine indeed and a few years.

2007 Ornellaia

The 2007 was appealing from the off with a warm, chocolate, coffee character on the nose.  Charming, harmonious and with lovely softness of tannins and balance.  Will develop and have a wide drinking window.

2004 Ornellaia

Intense, focussed, pure and simply alluring on the nose.  Very classy wine with grip and a tight, composed structure.  Great development of intensity and flavours on the palate.  Very fine indeed and Best in Show on today’s showing!

2001 Ornellaia

This vintage was affected slightly by frost in Spring.  Sweet almost Port-like nose with chocolate notes.  Sweet, luscious with velvety tannins and nicely balanced.  Drinking perfectly now although should keep for another 5 years or so.

1999 Ornellaia

A touch faint on the nose and slightly vegetal but ok.  Pleasant, soft and opulent on the palate.  Just balancing grip and moderate finish.  Perfectly acceptable although not great.

1990 Ornellaia

A nose of mint, eucalyptus, sous bois and sour cherries.  Slightly dusty tannins and candied sweetness on palate.  Fresh but lacking density of fruit.  Drink up.

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