THE 1999 GROWING SEASON
70% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Winter was colder than that of 1998 which lead to a later budding of about one week. Spring enjoyed average temperatures and rainfall, thus the vegetative cycle recuperated and blossoming of the vines took place at a similar period to the 98 vintage. The excellent climatic conditions during this time meant that the ‘setting of the bud’ was superior to average with a greater yield than previous expected. A hot summer without rainfall lead to a ‘veraison’ which took place about a week earlier than usual, and the grapes developed in a very homogeneous way. At the beginning of July the grapes were thinned; Merlot (about 30%,) followed by Cabernet Sauvignon (about 10%), to ensure that the grapes remaining ripened under the best conditions. The harvest of the Merlot grapes started at the beginning of September with the younger vines and terminated mid September with the older vines. The conditions of the grapes at harvest was excellent. Harvesting was carried out by hand using baskets of 15kg capacity. Starting mid-September, the harvest of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc grapes took place and was terminated by the beginning of October. Cabernet Sauvignon variety reacted particularly favourably to the climatic conditions of the vintage, reaching perfect maturation with notable concentration.
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 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 (in new and once –used barriques), followed by a further period of 6 months in the bottle prior to release.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
The 1999 vintage in Bolgheri was particularly remarkable. The Cabernet Sauvignons could reveal their full potential: density, structure and balance. Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 1999 today is the magnificent expression of a wine full of power and energy, as its secondary aromas wonderfully harmonize with the fruit of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot. Its freshness, its balance and its texture still leave several years of a beautiful development.