THE 1997 GROWING SEASON
75% Cabernet Sauvignon
The start of Spring saw above average temperatures which resulted in an early budding of the vines. The vegetative cycle slowed down somewhat following an unexpected frost in mid April and subsequent rainful until the end of the month. From May onwards, the weather became very warm and dry and the summer months were particularly hot, reaching temperatures at times as high as 35°C. The grapes ripened earlier than usual and harvesting was carried out under ideal conditions during the first part of September with perfect maturation of the grapes and tannins. The vintage was exceptional in terms of quality (with grapes that had matured perfectly with good concentration and well matured tannins), while quantities were somewhat lower than average due to the small dimensions of the grapes resulting from the dry summer conditions.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
On harvesting, the grapes were destemmed and crushed before being introduced partially in wooden fermentors of medium capacity, and partially in stainless steel tanks where alcoholic fermentation took place at a temperature not exceeding 30°C. Maceration continued for a period of 20-25 days after which the wine was introduced into French oak barriques (second passage barriques) where it concluded its malolactic fermentation. Each grape variety and each vineyard lot was aged separately. The wine remained in barriques in the temperature controlled cellars at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia for a period of 18 months after which time the wine was then blended and bottled. A further refinement period of 6 months in the bottle followed, prior to release.
James Suckling 88