*6 BOTTLE LIMIT* This wine is destined for greatness – you can already glimpse the reserved power and quiet elegance in its youth but, with a little more time in the cellar or a good long decant, this will rock your world. Silky and aromatic, this Ornellaia harkens back to the 2004 with its finesse, but this is the first vintage to give Merlot so much of the spotlight. It’s beginning to show its cards now, and the hand is impressive, but promises even more aces after 2025.
Ornellaia, founded in Bolgheri by Ludovico Antinori in 1981, is a deserving icon of Italian wines. About 80 people work at this 240–acre vineyard and winery year round, and produce one of the world’s greatest Cabernet blends. Quite simply, it’s one of the great wines of Italy. As we’ve gushed a few times before, the following wines exemplify the phrase “come hither.” They have a warmth, charisma, and delicacy to them that you can really only find in Tuscany. The sun of the Bolgheri coast, her complex soils, and the Bordelais varietals create an alchemy in the bottle that beckons you in a way that other Cabernet blends–whether they’re from Bordeaux or California–simply can’t. At least a mixed case or two of these beauties, with uncommon critical consensus, are attractive investments in pleasure!
The 2018 Ornellaia is an introvert at this stage. Medium in body, with terrific persistence and impeccable balance, the 2018 is not in any mood to show all its cards today. Hints of red berry fruit, mocha, spice, licorice and dried flowers emerge with a bit of coaxing. I won’t be surprised to see it put on weight with more time in bottle. There is certainly plenty to look forward to. Readers should expect a silky, aromatic Ornellaia in line with vintages such as 2004 that are more about finesse than raw power. This is the first time in which Merlot drives the blend in Ornellaia.