A special wine for its deeply authentic Italianate character, even though the grapes are French. First of all, it’s from Bolgheri, a coastal region in Tuscany where two of the most famous Italian wines come from—Sassicaia and Ornellaia, which are both Bordeaux blends. Secondly, Bolgheri shares with the French region of Bordeaux volcanic soils which oftentimes lends these famous red wines a chalkiness in texture, powerful tannins, earthy minerality, bright acidity and sensual aromatics. Third, you can label Bolgheri an “avant garde” wine region because it had a major hand in reinventing Italian wine in the late 1960s, just like a lot of artistic mediums around the world were being reinvented, be it film, rock music, or fine arts. The ORNELLAIA Estate has only been around since 1981, around the same time Rick Springfield was singing about how much he wished he had “Jessie’s Girl” and Lionel Richie and Diana Ross were crooning about “Endless Love.” So Le Serre Nuove dell”Ornellaia, which is the second wine of the estate that brought the iconic “Super Tuscan” Ornellaia to the world, has a very modern sensibility about it. A 14.5% alcohol blend of Merlot (52%), Cabernet Sauvignon (28%) and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, this is a powerhouse; however, it is also silky smooth and beautifully integrated—where all components of the wine work in total harmony. There are enthralling flavors and aromatics of plum, dark berries and violets. Adding further complexity on the palate, prominent overtone of woodsy, young oak commingles with undertone of dark roast black coffee. The wine’s finish lingers like a rock radio ballad that refuses to fade out, and it continues to evolve—this is where the dark chocolate, red cherry and spice come out. All in all, a very beautiful Bolgheri wine with plenty of vim and vigor and personality. –J.M.
GREAT AMERICAN WINERY: RAMEY WINE CELLARS | SONOMA, CALIFORNIA