THE 2016 GROWING SEASON
51% Cabernet Sauvignon
18% Cabernet Franc
4% Petit Verdot
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 within the norm 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 last Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
TThe 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. In 2016, optical sorting has been introduced in addition to manual selection, in order to further increase the quality of selection. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel and concrete tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for two weeks, 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 20 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 8 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“2016 represents another immensely successful vintage highlighting all the virtues of Bolgheri’s climate: abundant sunshine, without excessive heat, a dry summer to allow the grapes to achieve perfect ripeness and concentration, and just about enough rain to avoid stress. All these elements combine to yield a wine that shows lush ripeness and crisp firmness, opposing forces creating a sense of dense raciness we like to describe as “tension”.”
Axel Heinz – Estate Director
“A particularly dark and young colour is the prelude to a complex nose of black berries, spices and cedar. The palate is rich and dense, balanced by a refined and firm tannic structure, lifted by a juicy and bright acidity.”
Olga Fusari – Winemaker – July 2018
Wine Advocate 98
James Suckling 98