THE 2016 GROWING SEASON
As what seems to be becoming increasingly the norm, the winter of 2016 was characterized by abnormally warm weather with heavy rainfall in February. Budbreak took place on time in the last week of March. The abundance of water in the soil and the warm weather in April led to quick and normal vegetative vine growth. Towards May temperatures returned to normal, slowing the growth down slightly, bringing about the flowering which took place in the last week of May with dry sunny weather, perfect for a good fruit-set. The summer was average with very little rain, favouring a notable water stress towards the end of the ripening stage. The usual August holiday period storms were also absent, maintaining a state of hydric stress through the first part of the harvest, but luckily with temperatures that significantly cooled off at night, allowing the vines to recover from the daytime temperatures. Ripening went on steadily building up excellent phenolic potential and a balanced sugar/acidity ratio. Harvest started early on the 24th August with young vine Merlot. By mid- September a few rain showers arrived, that allowed to complete harvest under virtually perfect conditions, sunny, but moderately warm, and enough water in the soil to prevent the vines from shutting down. Harvest was concluded on the 12th of October with the later ripening varieties.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
The different varietals were fermented separately in small steel tanks to maintain their varietal characteristics intact. The alcoholic fermentation was followed by malolactic fermentation, again in steel tanks. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barrique used for Ornellaia and partly in cement tanks, to obtain the perfect balance between tannic structure and an expression of fresh fruit.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
‘Few vintages have expressed all the virtues of the Tuscan coast’s climate as eloquently as 2016. An almost perfect combination of sunshine, warm summer days and cool nights, with just about enough rain to slow down the vine’s growth without making them suffer from drought have led to one of the purest expressions of Le Volte dell’Ornellaia, combining perfrectly ripe yet vibrant fruit with a silky and generous texture underlined by a fresh and lively acidity.’
Wine Spectator 92
James Suckling 92