Ornellaia. The mere mention of it makes wine lovers swoon. Since its first vintage in 1985, this cult Italian wine has been considered one of the best red wines in the world. Elegant and graceful, lively and expressive, the Super Tuscan is on the wish list of almost all wine collectors. The soon-to-be-released 2018 vintage of the winery is particularly tempting. “Synergy effects and interactions between the different terroirs of the property have resulted in proportions and complexity,” said Axel Heinz, Ornellaia Estate Director. “The result is a round and silky wine in which all elements merge into an expression of grace and beauty.”
Consistently among the best Italian properties by Wine lawyer, wine spectator, James Suckling, Antonio Galloni, Bruce Sanderson and the Italian wine guides Gambero Rosso, espresso, and Veronelli, Ornellaia was originally founded in 1981 by Marchese Lodovico Antinori in a region along the Tuscan coast (Bolgheri) that is traditionally not known for viticulture. The discovery of the region’s potential in the 1980s – particularly for the cultivation of Bordeaux grape varieties – led to a revolution in super Tuscany, for which Ornellaia is paramount. In 2001, the Ornellaia was named “Wine of the Year” by 1998 Wine viewer. The German publication appeared in 2011 The gourmet awarded Ornellaia the most coveted award, the “Wine Legend”.
Photo: Alexandra Korey
Ornellaia has belonged to the Frescobaldi family since 2005 and is known by both wine and art collectors for its unique Vendemmia d’Artista program, in which the exclusive character of each vintage is artistically celebrated. Every year, starting with the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist creates a site-specific artwork and a series of limited edition labels inspired by a word Heinz chose to denote the personality of the new vintage describe. For 2018 the Belgian artist Jan Fabre was chosen to interpret “La Grazia”. Using his trademark, Fabre created dramatic red coral sculptures that tower over the top three salmanazares (9 liters): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Goodness, and The Heart of Virtue.
“I believe that art should balance ethical values and aesthetic principles,” said Fabre. “For this reason I decided to use shapes like hearts, crowns, candles and wings in the sculptures for Ornellaia 2018. These are symbols of passion, virtue, and purity, brought to life through twigs and red coral beads. In a candle of mercy or in the heart of virtue, they liquefy like the melting grace of Ornellaia wine. ”
Each of the six 750 ml bottles in each case from Ornellaia has a label designed by Fabre. As in previous years, the project includes a limited edition of 111 large-format bottles (100 Jeroboams – 3 liters, 10 Imperials – 6 liters and 1 Salmanazar – 9 liters), which are personally numbered and signed by the artist. To encourage their commitment to the arts, the Frescobaldi family is donating a selection of these bottles to be auctioned at Sotheby’s, the win of which will support the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s Mind’s Eye program, which helps blind and visually impaired visitors experience art.
In the United States, Ornellaia is imported from Vintus and can be found in restaurants and top wine stores as well as in Wine.com.
Photos courtesy of Ornellaia