2012 was hot and dry in central and coastal Tuscany, although this slowed vine growth down, leading to a drop in production of 20%. Most of the growing season was dry, yet rain at the end gave the the vines a tonic for their thirst. The quality appears to be outstanding in Chianti Classico and Bolgheri and the winemakers we have spoken to are very confident indeed. Antonio Galloni is‘enthusiastic about 2012′, saying the wines ’showed more freshness and vibrancy than the 2011s’. This acclaim is verified in Ornellaia’s third wine, Le Volte 2012, its quality is staggering. This is their greatest ever Le Volte, hands down, so good that it it challenges Guidalberto 2012, the second wine of Sassicaia, high praise indeed. It is stunning and should not be missed, at £16.26 including duty and VAT. Its Price Over Points Score is remarkable; we consider anything below 25 as offering immense quality, Le Volte 2012 has a POP score of 12.5.
Le Serre Nuove is best known for being the second wine of Ornellaia, yet this year it is sold through allocation. If we forget for a moment that this is the younger brother of Ornellaia, it now has to be considered a leading Super Tuscan in its own right. Antonio Galloni recently commented that current vintages of Le Serre Nuove ’are actually better wines than the early vintages of Ornellaia‘. The 2012 Le Serre Nuove reflects the quality of the vintage, as Galloni states ’it is striking’. His initial score out the gate is 93 points, giving it a POP score of 23.8. Its price including duty and VAT is £33.46 a bottle, it drinks like an £80 bottle of wine and most restaurants charge in excess of £100 a bottle. It can be approached now but will age and improve for 20 years.
The first vintage of Le Serre Nuove was produced in 1997, the vintage when Ornellaia chose to make further selections during the blending of their first wine. It is chiefly made from younger Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot vines; some of these make it into Ornellaia to give the wine more energy and lift. It noteworthy that Galloni recently released his score for Ornellaia 2011, awarding it 96+, thereby making extremely compelling at £600, the 2010 scored 97 and trades at £650, also available today.
Le Volte reengages Ornellaia with Tuscan tradition by including Sangiovese in the blend: 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The different varietals are fermented separately in small steel tanks. The wine is then aged for ten months in barriques that are between two and four years old, they have previously been used for Ornellaia and contain its remnants: think special edition cask aged whisky! The oak age improves the wines structure, softens the ripe tannins further and adds the magic of Ornellaia. As such Le Volte is an expression of an estate at the top of its game, passing excellence down by bringing together the best terroir in Tuscany, combining Mediterranean lavishness and vivacity, while maintaining structure and complexity.
Le Serre Nuove, dell’Ornellaia 2012, 6×75 – £155 IB or £200.76 including duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni – 93 points
The 2012 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia is striking. Mocha, plums, roasted coffee beans, espresso, dark red fruit and smoke are some of the notes that meld together in the glass. Deceptively medium in body, the 2012 possesses notable energy and structure. This is a terrific showing from Ornellaia’s second wine.
Le Volte, dell’Ornellaia 2012, 6×75 – £69 IB or £97.56 including duty and VAT
Antonio Galloni – 91 points
Sweet roses, raspberries, sage, tobacco, underbrush, cinnamon and new leather jump from the glass in the 2012 Le Volte dell’Ornellaia. This is an unusually fresh, vibrant Le Volte with gorgeous energy and focus. Le Volte is now done half in oak and half in concrete, which keeps the flavors lively and fresh. The blend is 50% Merlot, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
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