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Sotheby’s marks Ornellaia 20th anniversary

Aulden Cellars/Sotheby's will mark Ornellaia's 20th anniversary, which Tenuta dell'Ornellaia observed in 2005, with a special three-lot consignment sent by the Tuscan estate.


The auction, on October 28, will have as its centrepiece the first of 80 numbered imperials. This imperial, designated as Number 1, is estimated at US$5,000-$15,000.

Three magnums of 1997 Masseto (US$3,000-$5,000) and 12 numbered standard bottles – three each from the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 vintages (US$2,000-$3,000) – are also on offer.

Magnums were the sole Masseto large-format bottles made in 1997, but none were sold in the market because of small production.

Lodovico Antinori, Piero Antinori’s brother, along with Napa’s Robert Mondavi, created Ornellaia, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend, and its all-Merlot sibling Masseto. Both super-Tuscans were made at the Antinori estate near Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast.

Frescobaldi acquired full control of the estate in 2005, after Constellation had taken over Mondavi and thus a half-share in Ornellaia.


Sergio Esposito, proprietor of Italian Wine Merchants, a luxury-oriented New York shop that is one America’s best in its field, describes Ornellaia generally as an ‘exemplary’ super-Tuscan that has had ‘a significant impact on Italy’s place in wine history.’

Ornellaia ‘took the Bordeaux model and showed it what it could be in Italian territorio,’ he said.

Ornellaia has a neighboring forerunner, Sassicaia. This Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc made by Tenuta San Guido, near Bolgheri, first went to market in 1968, four decades ago.

The estate, first planted in the 1940s, is run by its owner Niccolo Incisa della Rocchetta.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York

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