THE 2017 GROWING SEASON
25% Petit Verdot
13% Cabernet Sauvignon
7% Cabernet Franc
2017 will go down in history as being one of the hottest, driest years ever. Things were clear from the outset due to a particularly mild winter, with temperatures over three degrees higher than the seasonal average and rains within the norm. Consequently, the vines budded much sooner than usual, almost two weeks in advance. The vegetative cycle was accompanied by hot weather with very little rain from the month of March, and this was interrupted by a sudden drop in temperatures at the end of April, which caused frost in various parts of Tuscany. Thanks to the mitigating effects of the sea, temperatures remained above zero along the coast, preventing damage to the young buds. The hot, dry weather returned in May, limiting vegetative development and the size of the bunches, while flowering occurred under excellent conditions. There was virtually no rain in July and August but fortunately the hot weather was offset by cooler temperatures at night. The harvest began early, with the first Merlot on the 24th of August, continuing through until the last week of September in hot weather and under sunny skies. Rain finally put in an appearance around the middle of month, cooling things down and creating the perfect conditions for the later-ripening varieties.
Harvesting was done by hand in 15 kg crates. The grapes were sorted on a double sorting table before and after destemming and then softly crushed. Each variety and each parcel was vinified separately. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel vats at temperatures below 25°C for a week, followed by maceration for about 10-15 days. Malolactic fermentation began in the stainless steel vats and was completed after transfer to barriques (25% new and 75% second passage). The wine remained in barriques in the Ornellaia cellars at a controlled temperature for a period of about 15 months. After the first 12 months, it was blended and then reintroduced into the barriques where it spent a further 3 months. The wine remained in the bottle for six months before marketing.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“The result of a particularly hot and dry year, Variazioni in Rosso dell’Ornellaia 2017 is a picture made up of all the shades which Ornellaia has at its disposal. Even the later varieties benefited from the 2017 climatic season, reaching perfect ripeness. Montepulciano, with its typical scents of marasca cherries, tobacco and liquorice, combines with the enveloping character of Merlot and the beautifully ripe spicy notes of Petit Verdot. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc contribute to the structure and aromatic freshness of the wine, resulting in a persistent and lively finish”.
Olga Fusari – Winemaker