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For a long time I was unconvinced wines made from French varieties made in Italy. One wine stands out as changing my mind, 1990 Ornellaia, thanks Lou!

Beautifully balanced and poised it was poured at an open wine night where the only criterion was that it had to be bloody good!

Today we offer 3 wines from the epic 2015 Vintage in Tuscany all with outrageous scores, think 2 x 98 Points, 2 x 99 Points and 2 x 100 Points!

All are made with Bordeaux varieties with a splash of Sangiovese in the Solaia.

Ornellaia

Ornellaia is undoubtedly the refined lady of the estate. 53% Cabernet Sauvignon 23% Merlot 17% Cabernet Franc 7% Petit Verdot


Ornellaia ‘Masseto’

An insane wine 100% Merlot, it’s typically massive a powerful wine for those that love the big and bold. Masseto is the brutish master of the estate.


Antinori Solaia

Cabernet Sauvignon dominant with a decent splash of both Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese.

This offer has expired, wines are subject to availability. We'll do our best to satisfy your tastebuds.

2015 Super Tuscan Festa

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About the Wines

2015 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia "Ornellaia" Bolgheri Superiore

THE 2015 ORNELLAIA VINTAGE

53% Cabernet Sauvignon 23% Merlot 17% Cabernet Franc 7% Petit Verdot

After the unusual 2014, the 2015 vintage proved to be very regular, almost “textbook” like. After a normal, rainy, mild winter, with just a couple of days with temperatures below zero, the budding arrived on time in the first days of April. Spring was characterized by a dry and sunny weather, ideal conditions for a regular vegetative development, that culminated in a fast and complete blooming at the end of May. Starting in June, water stress gradually became an issue. July will be remembered as particularly scorching and dry, with maximum temperatures that exceeded 30°C every single day of the month. The heat, combined with the absence of rains, made us fear an interruption in the ripening process and possibly an early harvest. Luckily rain came around the 10th of August, with abundant precipitation allowed the grapes to continue ripening, also bringing a much cooler weather during the final stages. This cool yet sunny weather persisted throughout the harvest, allowing us to pick very slowly, waiting for every vineyard to arrive at the perfect point of ripeness, combining a fresh and lively aromatic quality with a perfect phenolic maturation with abundant yet silky and soft tannins. We began on the 29th of August with the Merlot, and ended on the 12th of October with the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.

VINIFICATION AND AGEING

The clusters were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally softly crushed. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature- controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES

‘Like people of great ‘Carisma’ (Charisma), wines of great vintages know how to impose themselves naturally, without force, their balance allowing them to shine without having to flaunt themselves. The 2015 vintage perfectly expresses this behavioural trait. Born during a particularly balanced harvest season, 2015 is certainly one of the great Ornellaia vintages. The usual intense colour indicates a wine of great texture and intensity, followed by a fruity scent that is ripe and fresh at the same time, emphasized by classic balsamic and spicy hints. On the palate it is rich, dense, and full-bodied, with an exceptional tannic texture, dense and velvety, of great refinement, that extends throughout the mouth. The long finish concludes with a feeling of firmness and finely spiced hints.’

Axel Heinz – May 2017

Insights about the 2009 & 2010 Ornellaia Vintages

98 Points

The blackberry and blueberry aromas with fresh sage and bay-leaf character are impressive. Stone, graphite and mineral undertones. Full-bodied and silky and refined tannins. Dusty. Elegance and polish. Shows greatness in strength and refinement. A dialed-in, dialed-back Ornellaia. Drink in 2022. (9/2018)

James Suckling

98 Points

The 2015 Ornellaia is a dream wine with magnificent balance. All the elements are in the right place. In most vintages, Ornellaia needs time to fully come together, but the 2015 is just impeccable, even in the early going. The warm vintage notwithstanding, winemaker Axel Heinz crafted and Ornellaia is more about finesse and power. The potent, bruising tannins Ornellaia can show as a young wine are nowhere to be found. Bright raspberry jam, mint, white flowers and pomegranate are some of the many notes that punctuate the finish in a memorable Ornellaia that will go down among the great vintages produced at this reference-point estate. (4/2018)

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

2015 Ornellaia Masseto

THE 2015 MASSETO VINTAGE

Compared to a rather particular 2014, the 2015 proved to be an almost ‘text book’ vintage. After a rainy and mild winter, with just a few days of temperatures below zero, budbreak arrived on time during the first days of April. Spring was characterized by dry and sunny weather, providing ideal conditions for regular vegetative growth that culminated in a quick and complete flowering at the end of May. From June on, water stress gradually became evident. July will be remembered as a particularly torrid, dry month, with maximum temperatures exceeding 30°C every single day of the month. The heat, combined with the absence of rains, made us fear a shut-down in the ripening and the need for an early harvest. Luckily rain fell abundantly around 10 August that not only unblocked the ripening but also brought much cooler temperatures during the final ripening phase. This cool, yet sunny, weather continued throughout the harvest, allowing us to pick the grapes with great ease, choosing just the right moment to harvest the different vineyard blocks, resulting in a fresh and lively aromatic quality with a perfect degree of phenolic ripeness along with abundant, yet silky and soft, tannins. The harvest began on 29 August with the youngest vines and finished on the 16 September with the last portions of “Masseto Centrale”.

VINIFICATION AND AGEING

The bunches, hand harvested in 15kg crates, were carefully sorted by hand on a double sorting table before and after destemming and then subjected to a gentle crushing. Six different lots were vinified separately. Fermentation took place in both steel and wood tanks, followed by 15-20 days maceration at a temperature between 25 and 30° C. Afterwards, malolactic fermentation took place in 100% new oak barrique, and the different lots were kept separate for the first 12 months of maturation. The wine was then blended and reintroduced into the barrels for another year, making a total of 24 months. After bottling, the wine was aged for an additional 12 months prior to release.

TASTING NOTES

The particularly regular vintage, along with an ideal temperature during the harvest, is reflected in a classic Masseto, with a perfect balance between a mature, yet complex, aromatic expression of great freshness and a rare quality of ample, silky and smooth tannins. The dark and intense colour is followed by a rich aroma with hints of fully ripe red fruit and spicy, balsamic and cocoa notes. In the mouth it becomes sensual and rich, with great density and an ample and perfectly smooth tannin. The fruity notes are underlined by the subtle presence of oak – terminating in a fresh and vivid finish with pronounced hints of cocoa.

99 Points

The aromas are profound here with a deep and vast character of black olives, cedar, chocolate and berries, as well as vanilla essence and light coffee. Flamboyant. Full-bodied, this powerful young Masseto is chewy, muscular and rich. Dusty tannins, yet wonderfully polished. A wine for the cellar. Try in 2022. Dec-2018

James Suckling

99 Points

The 2015 Masseto is simply extraordinary. Soft, silky and seamless, the 2015 possesses remarkable balance and harmony from the very first taste. What surprises me most about the 2015 is how fresh and vibrant the flavors are. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, mint, and wild flowers are all beautifully lifted in this exquisitely perfumed, gracious Masseto. Despite the warm, drought conditions of the early summer, the 2015 is a wine of mid-weight structure, polish and restraint. In this tasting, it positively dazzles. I can't remember ever tasting a young Masseto with this much pure harmony. Other vintages have been super-impressive upon release. The 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2013 all come to mind. But the 2015 has a level of pure sensuality and allure none of those vintages had when young, with the possible exception of the 2004.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

2015 Antinori Solaia IGT

The Solaia Vintage

The climate of the 2015 was an extremely regular one and respected, in the various phases of the growing season, the typical meteorological conditions of the Chianti Classico production zone. A cold and relatively dry winter preceded a spring characterized first by damp weather in the months of March and April which then turned dry in May and June. Temperatures were regular during this period, guaranteeing a perfect development of vine vegetation and an optimal flowering and bud set. Summer was hot, with peak temperatures in the month of July, but with excellent temperature swings between daytime warmth and evening and nighttime coolness as well which assured the growth and development of the grapes without any particular conditions of stress. The month of August, hot as well, was marketed by some rainfall which stimulated a very favorable start to the ripening process. The picking of the grapes took place between late September and early October. The Cabernet Franc harvest was carried out between September 28th and 30th, and picking then continued, with the Sangiovese from September 29th to October 3rd. The harvest terminated with the Cabernet Sauvignon crop, picked from October 4th to October 10th. Total annual rainfall: 24.45 inches (64.68 centimeters) Average daily temperature April 1st- October 12th: 68.5° Fahrenheit (20.27° centigrade) Rainfall April 1st – October 12th : 11.45 inches (29.12 centimeters)

Vinification

The 2015 vintage, very regular in the successive stages of its growing season, will be remembered for the harvesting of perfectly ripe and healthy grapes thanks to a climate which was quite favorable during the entire cycle of the vine. Despite this positive weather, the attention level, both in the vineyard and the cellar, was very high during the picking, the fermentation, and the aging of the grapes. Upon arriving in the cellar, the grape bunches were delicately destemmed and the berries, before pressing, were carefully selected on the sorting table; here the attention to every detail insured that only perfect grapes went into the 6000 liter (1600 gallon) conical fermenting tanks. The must was then slowly transformed into wine: during this phase it was necessary to exercise the maximum care to maintain freshness and fragrance without, however, neglecting the extraction of color, utilizing as well a management of tannins aimed at suppleness and elegance. Once the wine was run off its skins, it was put through a complete malolactic fermentation, which took place in small oak barrels to further bring out freshness and flavor pleasure. The aging process continued in 60 gallon French oak barrels and lasted approximately 18 months. During this period, the various lots, fermented and aged separately on the basis of the grape variety and the vineyard conditions, aged properly and were then blended together a few months before bottling. Notes from the winemaker The 2015 is to be considered as among the finest of all for its ideal climatic conditions in every phase of the growing season, culminating during the harvest period, which saw the grapes ripen in a perfect fashion. The extreme care and attention during the fermentation and the selection of the barrels for the aging of the wine guaranteed the production of a wine of uncontestable potential, one with an excellent balance and an outstanding personality.

History

Solaia is a 50 acre (20 hectare) vineyard with a southwestern exposure located at an altitude between 1150 and 1325 feet (350-400 meters) above sea level and with a stony soil of “alberese” (hard limestone) and “galestro” (flaky calcareous clay) rock. The vineyard is located at the Tignanello estate. The Antinori family produced this wine for the first time in the year 1978, and the initial blend was 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc, a formula repeated in 1979 as well. In the following years, 20% of Sangiovese was introduced and certain adjustments were also made in the rapport between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc until the current blend was settled upon. Solaia is produced only in exceptional vintage, and was not produced in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, and 1992.

Tasting notes from the Antinori

The 2015 Solaia shows an intense ruby red color with purple highlights. The complexity and expressiveness of the aromas are high level indeed: the nose offers powerful notes of plum jam and such ripe black fruit as blackberries, blueberries, and cassis. The perfectly integrated sensations of chocolate and liquorice give way on the finish to hints of mint which confer great freshness to the bouquet. The wine is harmonious on the palate with an excellent and balanced structure; the suppleness and silkiness of the tannins give it solidity, elegance, and an extremely long finish and a very long and lingering aftertaste.

Videos for the 2010 Vintage give you some insight into Solaia.

100 Points

The nose to this Solaia is truly phenomenal with currants, blackberries, roses and violets. So perfumed. Full-bodied and everything is in check and harmony with polished tannins that last for minutes. Purity and focus. Is it the greatest Solaia ever? So drinkable already, but this is a wine for ages ahead. Jan-2019

James Suckling

100 Points

The very name Solaia evokes the concept of sunshine and this unique Tuscan wine archetype I am referring to. With the 2015 vintage, Solaia is liquid sunshine not just in name but also in fact. The bouquet is immediately soft and sensual with dark fruit, spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel shows intensity and power, but you don't get any heavy residue from the dry extract (measured at 33 grams per liter). Indeed, the wine feels glossy, tonic and fresh. It is composed of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese and a tiny part Cabernet Franc. There is a bit of crunch or snap that comes thanks to the more acidity-prone Sangiovese grape (the wine measures 3.5 in pH). Finally, the tannins are beautifully sweet and ripe. This wine is meticulously executed, and the 2015 vintage lives up to an ideal of what we imagine Solaia to be. (9/2018)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate