New Vintage Ornellaia 2012 L’Incanto Enchants Internationally in May

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A sunny, mild spring brought superb vine development and a rapid, consistent flowering to Super Tuscan wine’s latest vintage.

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L’Incanto (Enchantment) is the “character descriptor” of the 2012 vintage of Ornellaia, a concept easy to understand, but challenging to actually attain. The idea has always inspired winemakers: to amaze at the moment of tasting and remain in that trance forever. The daily efforts of every winemaker are pervaded by just that challenge. This year, the Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project embraces that concept, this time with Ornellaia’s 750ml bottle. The bottle’s label bears the artwork Splash, created by Swiss artist John Armleder in a limited edition, to identify L'Incanto as the “character” of Ornellaia 2012. This label will grace one bottle in every wood box of six 750ml bottles. Each individual Ornellaia vintage, unique in its personality, inspires internationally renowned artists to interpret that distinctive character, contributing to the Vendemmia d'Artista art project since 2007. 2012 Ornellaia is imported by Folio Fine Wine Partners and will be available from May for $240 per bottle through select fine wine stores. -

The 2012 growing year was a dry season, similar to 2011. The lack of water was felt as early as winter, which brought cold temperatures but little rain. By budbreak, which occurred normally, there was already a water deficit of some 100mm compared to the multi-year average. A sunny, mild spring encouraged excellent vine growth and canopy development, while flowering was rapid and consistent throughout. July and August were hot and nearly rainless, causing worry that a lack of water would arrest the ripening process. However, veraison proceeded problem-free, and rain between late August and early September gave an additional thrust to ripening, which concluded homogeneously across the varieties with fine levels of both aromatic compounds and polyphenols.

Harvest took place between August 29 and September 17 in the Merlot parcels, while the younger vineyards of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot began on September 18. Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the older vineyards brought the harvest to a close on October 5.

“The 2012 growing season was characterised by an abundance of sunny, dry weather; some rain did fall, but it occurred in just the right periods, before the harvest, and helped the vines to cope with the hot, dry conditions. The result was an even, consistent ripening process,” remarked Axel Heinz, ORNELLAIA Estate Director and Winemaker. “These generous, full-volumed wines are remarkably appealing and seductive, with an overall character that we like to define with the term L’Incanto (‘Enchantment’). Ornellaia 2012 appears a deep ruby, and a remarkably beguiling bouquet boasts rich fruit and spices notes. The palate is well rounded, full and generous, with glossy tannins. The 2012 lacks none of the proverbial concentration that distinguishes Ornellaia’s great vintages, but this vintage adroitly masks that richness with an expansive, magisterial structure, then concludes with a near-endless finish.”

“An amazing, spicy, blueberry and blackberry taste, rich and all-enveloping,” in the words of Serena Sutcliffe, Master of Wine, Head of Sotheby’s International Wine Department. “A great wine, with a sweet opulence all over the palate, truly an “enchantment,” with coffee and cassis all through, and an espresso, luscious finish.”

“When I tasted Ornellaia 2012 for the first time, I was immediately transported to a world of dreams. It was unexpected and surprising,” stated John Armleder. “Such a moment can never be repeated. The artwork I created, however, represents the surprise and pleasure I felt, and I want people to experience that feeling for themselves. When they discover the label for the first time, that unique experience will become their own.”

ORNELLAIA Vinification and Aging: the clusters were hand-picked into 15-kg boxes and then graded and selected by hand on a double sorting table, before and after destemming, and finally soft-pressed. Each grape variety and single vineyard block was vinified separately. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26-30°C for one week, followed by 10-15 days of maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation took place primarily in oak barriques, 70% new and 30% once-used. The wine then remained in barriques, in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled cellars for about 18 months. After the first 12 months of maturation, the wine was assembled and then returned to the barriques for an additional 6 months. After bottling, the wine aged a further 12 months prior to release.

ORNELLAIA’s philosophy considers the birth of the wines to be the truest expression of their terroir. The grapes for Ornellaia are selected by hand, and picked in the estate's vineyards in Bolgheri, on the Tuscan coast. The varying natures of the estate's terroirs, marine, alluvial and volcanic, are ideal for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Estate extends over 97 hectares along the Tuscan coast, just a short distance from the medieval hamlet of Bolgheri and the famed cypress-lined avenue ‘Viale dei Cipressi’. The constant work of the Ornellaia team and the ideal microclimatic and geological characteristics have brought the wines, in just twenty years -- 1985 was the first vintage of Ornellaia -- great international success. In 2001, the 1998 Ornellaia was declared Wine of the Year by the American journal Wine Spectator. In 2011 the German publication Der Feinschmecker awarded Ornellaia its most sought-after award, the ‘Weinlegende’. Tenuta dell’Ornellaia has received considerable recognition also in the national and international press, and is consistently ranked among the top estates by the Italian Wine Guides, including Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Veronelli, Duemilavini AIS, and Luca Maroni.

About Folio Fine Wine Partners –
Folio Fine Wine Partners was founded in 2004 by Michael Mondavi and his wife, Isabel, with their children, Dina and Rob Jr. Folio is an importer, fine wine agency and producer of quality wines from the world's premiere and emerging wine regions, providing sales, marketing and public relations services to wine brands from California, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and Argentina. Wines from California include Animo, Emblem, Hangtime, Isabel Mondavi, M by Michael Mondavi, Oberon and Spellbound. From Italy, are the wines of Arnaldo Caprai, Attems, Bruno Giacosa, Coppo, Dal Forno Romano, Danzante, Donnafugata, Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Luce della Vite, Masseto, Ornellaia, Quorum, and Villa Sandi. The Spanish portfolio includes Artadi, Capafons-Ossó, Fillaboa, Leda, Nita, Palacios Remondo and Vall Llach. From Argentina are the wines of Ben Marco, Crios, Nosotros and Susana Balbo, with Laurenz V (Austria), and Prinz von Hessen (Germany) completing the portfolio.

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Paul Yanon

Samantha Januszeski
since: 08/2012
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