THE 2001 GROWING SEASON
70% Cabernet Sauvignon
Winter 2001 was characterised by mild temperatures and a higher than average rainfall. Budding was earlier than average and occurred during the last days of March and beginning April. Spring saw moderate temperatures and above average rainfall. Flowering started halfway through May with the Merlot and finished at the end of the month with the Cabernet Sauvignon. The Summer 2001 growing season was within the norm with average temperatures and only a small amount of seasonal rainfall. The fine conditions enabled the grapes to develop uniformly. Early July the grapes were thinned; Merlot (about 30%,) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (about 10%), to ensure that the remaining grapes ripened under the optimal conditions. The weather continued fine throughout the harvest period with warm sunny days and cool nights. Harvesting of the Merlot started in the younger vineyards in the first few days of September. An interruption was then made for about a week while tannins ripened to optimal levels in the more mature vineyards, and continued until the middle of September. The harvest of the Cabernet Sauvignon started in the third week of September and was concluded on the 5th of October.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
Grapes were harvested by hand into 15kg baskets and hand sorted on a table prior to being de-stemmed and lightly crushed. Alcoholic fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation temperatures were moderately high ranging from 26-30°C. Each grape variety and vineyard parcel was vinified separately. Post-fermentation maceration proceeded for a period on average of 21 days. Malolactic fermentation began in tank and was completed after transfer to barriques (25% new and 75% once used). The wine remained in oak in the temperature-controlled cellars at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia for a total period of 18 months. After the first 12 months the master blend was made. The wine was then re-introduced into barrique where it spent the remaining 6 months. Prior to bottling it was gently fined. The wine then spent a further 6 months in the bottle prior to release.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
Deep crimson red in colour with attractive red berry fruit aromas. It has a balanced, round generous palate structure and a smooth finish of good length. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend giving the wine its fine tannin structure, which is complemented by some mid-palate weight and softness, provided by the addition of Merlot.
Wine Advocate 88
Wine Spectator 90