Wines Overview

Ornellaia (12,000 cases): Traditionally based heavily on Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot and Cabertnet Franc in the blend, the character of Ornellaia varied from vintage to vintage. Emerging in 1985, it experienced a giddy rise in popularlity and became Decanter’s ‘Wine of the Year’ of 1998. From 2006 onwards, the estate introduced a project known as Vendemmia d’Artista, in which an artist is chosen for a collaboration with each new vintage, designing packaging for limited edition formats of the wine. These perform very well at auction, historically: a 20th anniversary Salmanazar of Ornellaia 2005 was sold for a little under £21,000 at auction at Christie’s New York in 2007. Most recently, for the 2009 vintage, Ornellaia had contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Huan design a series of Confucius-inspired bottles which raised more than £120,000 at auction in Hong Kong. Masculine and closed in its youth in a truly fantastic vintage, this has a rich, buttery confit cherry palate and overall a supple and balance profile. It is nevertheless approachable earlier than the often-austere Sassacaia.

Masseto (3,000): This single-vineyard Merlot cuvee is produced in much smaller quantities than its older brother, commanding around 3 times the price of Ornellaia on average. First appearing in 1986 (though first vintage was named simply ‘Merlot’), clay-rich soil is responsible for the creation of a rich, opulent and seductive wine which enraptures the senses with black cherries and dark chocolate aromas. Finessed, balanced acidity with a hint of citrus on the finish reveals the Italian influence on this cuvee of French Merlot. Now the strongest performer within the Liv-ex Super Tuscan 50, the status that Masseto holds has led it to be nicknamed ‘Italy’s Petrus’, reflecting the prices and scores it can achieve in truly great vintages such as 2006 and 2007..