Ornellaia 2018 Vendemmia d’Artista La Grazia Bolgheri DOC Superiore
The Vendemmia d’Artista project celebrates the exclusive character of each new vintage of Ornellaia. Each year since the release of Ornellaia 2006 in May 2009, a contemporary artist signs a limited edition artwork and label series, drawing inspiration from a word chosen by the winemaker that describes the character of the new vintage.
Collectors around the world vie for these bottles, some of which are auctioned off during an annual fundraising event to support the arts.
The Vendemmia d’Artista project culminates with a work of art, created specifically for the estate, that combines the character of the vintage with the artist’s inspiration in the place where Ornellaia was born.
“The 2018 vintage yielded wines of particular harmony, ” comments Ornellaia director Axel Heinz. “A wine with a soft, silky texture in which all elements come together in an expression of grace and beauty.” And because of the sense of proportion, Axel Heinz called “The Grace” the character of this vintage.
Jan Fabre, multidisciplinary artist
For the “artist’s vintage” series, inaugurated in 2009, Belgian Jan Fabre was called upon to interpret that character. Continuously seeking convergences between different disciplines, Fabre offers a personal interpretation of visual art, aided by theater and literature as well as rich symbolism.
The performance of the 2018 vintage
Speaking of the 2018 vintage, after above-normal dry seasons, the land finally received the winter rain and cold needed for a restoration of the plants’ growing cycle. The spring was rainy, while the hot summer stimulated fruit formation, culminating in veraison on sunny days in late July. At harvest between August 31 and October 8, the clusters were healthy and well balanced between acidity and sugars.
Harvest of Artists 2018, La Grazia stars
Inspired by Ornellaia’s “La Grazia” 2018 Jan Fabre used his language and coral from the Bay of Naples for the sculptures that surmount three Salmanazars (9 liters): A Candle of Mercy, The Crown of Kindness, and The Heart of Virtue. In addition to the precious 111 large sizes of Ornellaia that will be offered for sale, Jan Fabre also designed aspecial label for the 750 ml bottles, and finally created asite-specific work for the winery’s orciaia.
BOLGHERI DOC SUPERIORE RED
The desire to express the exceptional qualities of the estate has been at the heart of Ornellaia’s philosophy from the very beginning. Ornellaia is a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, a faithful expression of a unique terroir that has always been in harmony with nature.
40% CABERNET SAUVIGNON
7% CABERNET FRANC
2% PETIT VERDOT
After years when winter seemed to make itself forgotten, 2018 brought weather conditions back to normal, with subzero temperatures sufficient for the vines to begin their well-deserved winter rest. The spring will be remembered as one of the wettest in history, with rainfall three times the seasonal average and high temperatures in April. Despite the late sprouting, the weather conditions and rapid shoot growth allowed the vines to catch up by anticipating flowering by a full week. Throughout May and, although to a lesser extent, in June, rainfall remained above average, with a respite in July: a warm and dry month. The veraison occurred between July 22 and 25, and August was as hot as the previous year but slightly wetter. The sugars and acidity developed slowly, while the berries, due to the high levels of water in the soil, reached a larger size. September weather was warm with no precipitation. Temperatures were higher than the seasonal average, but cooler nights allowed the vines to recover and preserve aromas and acidity. Harvesting of the reds began on August 31 with the Merlots and ended on October 8 with the later varieties.
VINIFICATION AND AGING
Harvesting was done by hand in 15-kg crates, and the grapes were sorted on a double sorting table before and after destemming and subjected to a soft crushing at the end. Each variety and each plot was vinified separately. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel vats at temperatures between 26-30°C for one week which was followed by maceration for a total of about 10-15 days. Malolactic fermentation took place mainly in oak barrels (70% new and 30% first-passage). The wine remained in barriques in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellar for a period of about 18 months. After the first 12 months it was blended and then reintroduced into the barrels where it spent another 6 months. The wine remains in the bottle for another 12 months before release to the market.
NOTES FROM THE WINEMAKER
“With its usual intense ruby red color, Ornellaia 2018 is characterized by a lively and intense aromatic expression, a distinctive mark of the vintage. Red fruits, citrus notes, hints of licorice and Mediterranean scrub combine, outlining the profile of Ornellaia 2018. On tasting, the wine is enveloping and well-proportioned in all its components: the tannic texture, dense yet silky, fills the palate with elegance and precision. The finish is enhanced by an evident sapid vein that enhances the sensation of freshness and persistence.” Olga Fusari – Enologist – July 2020
James Suckling 97
Antonio Galloni 97