THE 1997 GROWING SEASON
80% Cabernet Sauvignon
Winter had slightly more rainfall than in previous years with temperatures below average at the beginning of Spring. Budding was completed in the first days of April in a very homogenous way. In May temperatures returned to average, and blossoming took place between 20-25 May. During all the Summer period – including the harvest period, the weather was sunny, without rainfall. The vines developed under perfect conditions with an optimal ‘veraison’. The grapes were thinned at the beginning of August (20% approx for Merlot, and 5% approx for Cabernet) so as to ensure than the remaining clusters ripened under the best conditions. Harvesting of the Merlot started the first week of September and continued until mid September, followed by the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc which was completed by the beginning of October. The grapes arrived in the cellar in perfect conditions. The harvest was carried out by hand in baskets containing 15kg maximum.
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. Each grape variety and each vineyard ‘lot’ was vinified separately. Maceration continued for a period of 20-25 days after which the wine was introduced into french oak barriques. The wine remained in French oak barriques in the temperature controlled cellars at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia for a period of 18 months followed by a further period of 6 months in the bottle prior to release.
Wine Spectator 91