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Ornellaia: a masterclass in elegance

Monty Waldin recently co-hosted a Decanter Virtual Masterclass from the cellars of Ornellaia with estate director, Axel Heinz. If you weren't in the audience, here's what you missed...

As a grizzled sceptic I am wary whenever themes are shoehorned into a range of different wines and vintages. Ornellaia’s estate director, Axel Heinz chose the theme of ‘harmony, symmetry and elegance’ for this impressive Decanter Virtual Masterclass, but I need not have worried.

Scroll down for Monty Waldin’s tasting notes and scores for the seven Ornellaia wines

Poggio alle Gazze

The first wine, and the only white in the lineup, was Poggio alle Gazze (‘Magpie Hill’). It set the tone with its creamy, saline and transparent fruit and effortless texture.

This Sauvignon-dominated blend is an ageable, food-friendly wine. Heinz explained to the virtual audience how over time he had reduced the percentage of Viognier in the blend as it can be overpowering.

He also introduced concrete eggs to ferment the Vermentino. ‘Vermentino doesn’t like oak, and the egg’s oval shape allows better lees movement, more harmonious ferments and better-integrated creaminess,’ he explained.

Le Serre Nuove

The first red we tasted, Le Serre Nuove, is often considered to be Ornellaia’s ‘second wine’, but Heinz explained that it is in fact ‘terroir-specific, coming from lighter, sandier terroirs, hence it is afforded its own identity.’

Wines from sandy soils are among the hardest to get right, often seeming somewhat loose and vacant, but both the Le Serre Nuove vintages tasted here – the more structured 2013 and the silky and more obviously fluid 2018 – showed kinetic, forward-flowing fruit with palpable juiciness and focus.

Watch the full Decanter Virtual Masterclass Ornellaia tasting

Four vintages of Ornellaia

Tasting Ornellaia wines:

Tickets now on sale for Decanter’s next Virtual Masterclass:

We are very excited to announce that tickets are now on sale for Decanter’s next Virtual Masterclass Château La Lagune and Paul Jaboulet Aîné: going beyond biodynamics – CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Coming up…

  • Champagne Billecart-Salmon – 14 May 2021 – priority tickets on sale Friday 16 April
  • Château Margaux – 25 June 2021 – priority tickets on sale Friday 22 May

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