ORNELLAIA: START TO ONE OF THE EARLIEST HARVESTS IN RECENT YEARS
“For Ornellaia, this will be one of the earliest-concluding growing seasons in recent years: our harvest started immediately following the late-August holidays. The reason is that, contrary to 2015, we had no significant rainfall during the month of August,” explained Axel Heinz, Director and Winemaker of Ornellaia. “Thus, on Monday, 22 August, Ornellaia brought in the first clusters of Sauvignon blanc and Viognier, which showed excellent component levels, with a potential alcohol of 13% and a good, balanced acidity. We will already finish this week the harvest of our white grapes, while we have just started picking, in these past few days, some Merlot, and we’re planning to continue with the other reds next week.
“Significant heat in July and August speeded up the ripening process,” continued Heinz. “Fortunately, the area of Bolgheri is blessed with wide day-night temperature differentials, which in turn allows the vines to recover during the night from the daytime heat and dryness. In addition, the depth of our soils creates optimal conditions for developing the aromatic qualities of our grapes.
“As it stands, it is possible 2016 could be among the best vintages at Ornellaia, on a par with 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2012, which were all characterized by hot, dry summers and yet gave us wines of great concentration, structure, and richness. The first rows we pick are never the whole story, so we are still sampling all the various vineyards and evaluating their potential. In point of fact, though, the figures we are seeing do indicate a vintage similar to the great ones of past years.”