The 2011 growing season
93% Sauvignon Blanc
After a significantly delayed 2010 vintage, 2011 was marked by very hot, dry weather, which brought on an earlier than average harvest . A rainy winter was followed by a warmer than normal spring, bringing forward the start of the vine growth cycle by a full 10 days. Budbreak was particularly rapid and even, which , as experience shows, is a very hopeful sign of a great vintage. Growth was then slowed by cooler conditions in June and July, but the desired rain arrived on time after flowering and after ‘veraison’, favouring optimal cluster development. A surge of heat in late August further encouraged the ripening process, bringing the start of harvest to the last week in August. September’s weather was sunny and rainless, picture-perfect conditions that yielded concentrated grapes with an ideal balance between ripe tannins, crisp acidities, and rich, ripe aromas. Exceptionally, harvesting concluded in the final days of September.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
The clusters were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes early in the morning and were chilled as soon as they arrived in the winery in order to preserve all of their aromatic potential. After painstaking quality control, the whole clusters were subjected to a slow, gentle pressing, in such a way as to protect them from oxidation. The best lots of grapes were given an 18-hour maceration on the skins before pressing. After a 12-hour gravity settling, 55% of the must was put into used oak barriques, 30% in new barriques and 15% into stainless steel. Fermentation temperatures did not exceed 18-20°C, and the wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. Maturation on the fine lees lasted six months, with regular bâtonnage through the entire period. The various lots of wine were assembled into the final blend, and the wine was given a light fining before bottling. The wine was aged a further twelve months in the bottle before release.
WINEMAKER ‘S NOTES
“The 2011 vintage demonstrates how the Bolgheri growing area is able to combine – even for white wines – complete ripeness with freshness and elegance. 2011 also marked the first harvest for Viognier; the quality of the fruit was so impressive right from the start that it won a role in the final blend for Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia. Appearing an intense straw yellow, the wine displays a rich bouquet of tropical maracuja and pineapple, with delicate hints of earthy mineral and vanilla. The palate opens to full volume and remarkably pure, pulpy fruit. A tangy vein of acidity drives a long-lingering finish with a clean-edged crispness.”
Wine Advocate 91
Antonio Galloni 91