The 2013 growing season
69% Sauvignon Blanc
After the dry 2012, a mild but quite rainy winter ushered in 2013, which delayed budbreak by a full 15 days. Continued cold, wet conditions brought irregular flowering as well, and stretched out that stage into two weeks later than normal, which reduced crop-load and led to uneven cluster development. Fortunately, summer arrived right on schedule, in late June, and it was perfect: dry and sunny, although July and August did experience a few intense heat spells. The delayed growth process was in the end quite beneficial, since it pushed ripening into the period after the heat spells. The expected mid-August rains significantly lowered temperatures, particularly the night-time maximums, which promoted good development of the aromatic compounds and preservation of crisp, vibrant acidities. The earlier uneven cluster formation, however, meant that we had to harvest in three separate passes in each vineyard. The Sauvignon Blanc and the Viognier were harvested between 23 August and 4 September, while the later-ripening varieties, such as Vermentino, enjoyed particularly cool weather, with morning temperatures ranging from 12 to 15 °C, which translated into splendid aromatic qualities. The “white” harvest ended on 28 September, the latest ever at Ornellaia.
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 bâttonage 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 fruit of an exceptionally slow growing season and one remarkably favourable for the production of lively, generously-aromatic white wines, Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2013 is the first vintage in which Sauvignon Blanc yields greater space to other varieties, in order to showcase its Mediterranean character. Sauvignon Blanc’s celebrated aromatics are clearly on display, with classic note of citrus, tropical fruit, and broom blossom, lifted by a subtly sweet florality. Crisp and vibrant on the palate, it offers fruit that is notably vivacious and self-confident. Quite rich and with good weight, the impressions of sweetness derived from the sur lie maturation are in admirable balance with the zesty acidity, which drives a mineral-laden finish of impressive length.”
Wine Spectator 88