Ornellaia 2016 Bolgheri Red Blend

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Winemaker Notes

2016 represents another immensely successful vintage highlighting all the virtues of Bolgheri’s climate: abundant sunshine without excessive heat, a dry summer to allow the grapes to achieve perfect ripeness and concentration, and just about enough rain to avoid stress. All these elements combine to yield a wine that shows lush ripeness and crisp firmness, opposing forces creating a certain raciness we like to describe as ‘tension’.

“A particularly dark and young colour is the prelude to a complex nose of black berries, spices and cedar. The palate is rich and dense, balanced by a refined and firm tannic structure, lifted by a juicy and bright acidity.” - Olga Fusari - Winemaker - July 2018

For the 11th edition of Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista, it is the American artist Shirin Neshat that interprets the character of Ornellaia 2016 - “La Tensione” (tension); with her disruptive and poetic visual language, the photographer, filmmaker and video-artist alludes to this vintage’s dynamism and strength through the words of the illustrious 11th century Persian poet, Omar Khayyam.The artist has created a site-specific masterpiece for the Estate, customized a limited series of 111 large format bottles, and designed a special label that, a single example of which, will be found in each Ornellaia case containing 6 bottles of 750ml.

Critical Acclaim

D98 Decanter
2016 is one of the best vintages ever in Bolgheri, classic in style and balanced. It has a 'great sense of the classics without denying the past, a fully-fledged, more modern wine,' according to Axel Heinz. Crimson and dense in colour, it's full of restrained, brambly fresh fruit, clove, nutmeg and a salty butteriness, combined with velvety, masked tannins on the palate. It is at perfect phenolic ripeness, supported by refreshing natural acidity balancing the 14.5% alcohol. This will last for decades.
 
RP98 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia is a wine of extreme complexity and precision. It offers monumental depth with profound layers of black fruit, coffee, licorice and baking chocolate. I tasted this 2016 vintage beside the less-impactful 2015 vintage (which was reviewed last year). These two editions are very different when compared side to side, and this 2016 release is clearly superior in terms of the quality, clarity and intensity of its offerings. This Ornellaia delivers glossy shine and a polished texture that segues to important richness, concentration and textural fiber. It wraps thickly over the palate, imparting waves of sweet dark fruit and dark spice that linger for many long minutes. This beautiful wine is hitting the market now, but collectors will want to put it straight into their cellars for safekeeping.
 
JS98 James Suckling
An astoundingly vibrant, powerful and concentrated Ornellaia that has a wealth of intense dark cherries, mulberries and plums with hints of espresso, dark cocoa powder and cedar. The concentrated palate is framed in long, regal tannins that bring focus to the plush, ripe and fresh black cherries and dark plums. Extremely balanced. Best from 2025.
 
JD98 Jeb Dunnuck
From a great vintage for Bolgheri, the 2016 Ornellaia is a classic blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot that was aged 20 months in 70% new French oak. Its saturated purple color is followed by a deep, beautifully concentrated yet primordial effort that offers serious intensity in its cassis, black cherry, graphite, bay leaf, forest floor, and spring flower aromas and flavors. Full-bodied and multi-dimensional on the palate, it has thrilling purity of fruit, ample tannins, and a great, great finish. This is a tour de force in red wine that needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will keep for two decades. Rating: 98+
 
WS96 Wine Spectator
Black currant, plum, cedar, lead pencil and toasty, spicy elements highlight this intense red. Muscular tannins line the extended finish, leaving a peppery impression. The parts are all there but need time to integrate. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2023 through 2043.
 
WE95 Wine Enthusiast
Cedar, French oak and cassis aromas follow over to the vibrant palate along with coconut and dried black cherry. Racy acidity lends energy and youthful tension while firm fine-grained tannins offer elegant support. It’s still young and primary so it give it time to fully develop. Drink 2024–2036.