THE 2009 GROWING SEASON
65% Petit Verdot
12% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2009 growing season saw a Winter and early Spring that were cool and rainy, and budbreak occurred in line with past years. May was dry, but the rains returned in June, without however negatively impacting vine growth or flowering. Summer was practically rainless, and hot, with temperatures often rising above 35°C and very little day-night temperature differences. These conditions speeded up the ripening process, particularly for early-ripening varieties such as Merlot. Harvest started in the last few days of August, slightly earlier than usual. Then rains in mid-September refreshed the later-ripening varieties, enabling them to continue ripening until the first week in October.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING
The grapes were handpicked into 15 kg baskets; the bunches were graded and selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally soft-pressed. Each varietal and single vineyard block was vinified separately. The primary fermentation tooks place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26° C and 30° C for one week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation, which began in the steel tanks, was completed after the wine was racked into barriques (25% new and 75% a year old). The wine remained in barriques in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 15 months. After the first 12 months the wine was assembled, and then returned to the barriques for an additional 3 months of aging. After bottling, the wine aged a further 6 months prior to release.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES
“The 2009 growing year was warm and sunny, conditions that were quite favourable to late-ripening varieties such as Petit Verdot. In addition to ripening slowly, Petit Verdot is also a delicate grape, and does best when weather conditions give it a long period it to ripen without rain. This allows its tannins to mellow which can otherwise at times be rather aggressive. 2009 vintage saw just such conditions, and the year proved to be one of the finest for the Petit Verdot variety, which we selected as the prime component in the blend for Variazioni in Rosso 2009. This year’s wine features all of the varietal characteristics classic to Petit Verdot. Its colour is deep and intense, the nose very emphatic, with notes of dark berry fruit, but of flowers and spice as well. Its hallmark of forcefulness is well on display in the mouth, with fine concentration of fruit. The tannins are dense and muscular, yet rounded and in balance, so that the wine overall exhibits a closely-woven, velvety texture.”