The 2016 growing season
80% Sauvignon Blanc
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-setting phase. 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 which kept the dryness throughout the whole Sauvignon and Viognier harvesting periods. Fortunately, the Estate’s proximity to the sea brought fresh moist wind with a remarkable night-time temperature change, allowing the vines to recover from the daytime heat and preserve their scents and zesty acidity, despite high sugar levels. The Sauvignon and Viognier harvests took place in the last week of August, while the Vermentino was harvested in the second half of September after some welcome rainfalls.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
The clusters were hand-picked into small 15kg boxes in the early morning hours and immediately chilled on arrival at the cellar in order to fully preserve their aromatic compounds. After a meticulous quality selection, the whole clusters were given a very slow, gradual pressing, while great care was exercised to prevent oxidation of the fruit. After gravity settling of some 12 hours, the separate lots of must were put in barriques, 23% of which new and 27% used, in steel tanks, and in concrete and oak vats (50%). Fermentation temperatures did not exceed 22°C, and the wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. The wine matured on the fine lees for 6 months, with regular bâtonnage throughout the period, followed by the assemblage of the final blend. After a light fining, it rested an additional 12 months in the bottle before release.
WINEMAKER ‘S NOTES
“The year 2016 represents a classic Bolgheri wine making year where summer warmth and dryness were eased by the sea breeze and the night time temperature change, allowing the wines to develop both richness and ripeness with a full and complex aromatic expression. Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia is pale yellow and has a classic nose where the scents of a typical mature Sauvignon, grapefruit, passion fruit and white peach, all come through. The palate is rich and full-bodied with notes of ripe yellow fruits and honey, interwoven with a well-balanced acidity. The long finish lingers with flavours of white flowers and fresh almonds.”
James Suckling 92