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I still remember where I was the first time I tasted the 2006 Masseto. Since then, I have tasted the 2006 several times. It has never been anything less than utterly profound. That is once again the case on this night. Readers who are cellaring the 2006 Masseto in magnum will want to wait at least a few years for it to be at its very best. Still, it is magnificent tonight.
Since being founded in 1981 by Marchese Lodovico Antinori, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia has firmly established itself as one of the most revered wine estates in the world. Situated on the Tuscan coast, within the iconic Bolgheri appellation, the estate has long been dedicated to producing wines of unrivalled beauty and elegance. Thanks to the combination of Bolgheri’s unique terroir and growing conditions, Ornellaia consistently produces world-class wines from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, all of which are full of Mediterranean charisma. With an eighty-person strong team working full-time, Ornellaia’s passion and attention to detail is essential to its legacy; complacency is forbidden, and such is their meticulous approach, that everything is done on a grape-by-grape basis. Since 2006, Winemaker and Estate Director Axel Heinz has attributed a single word to each year, with the intricacies of individual vintages being wonderfully captured by a chosen contemporary artist and reproduced as an exclusive label, as well as a site-specific work of art that remains part of the estate’s permanent collection. Not only is Ornellaia an ambassador for the region, but the estate also reaffirms the belief that Bolgheri’s distinctive climate and diversity of soils creates wines as complex and delightful as any in the world.
The medieval town of Bolgheri was originally made famous by the poet Giosuè Carducci who wrote about the stunning Cypress Avenue, a breathtaking and magical three mile long corridor of trees leading up to the entrance to the village. Swept away to the coastal and most westerly area of Tuscany, Bolgheri has become synonymous with wines known as ‘Super Tuscans'. Composed of classic Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (intermixed with the occasional Sangiovese), the Super Tuscans began as mere experimentation in the 1960s and 70s. These international French varieties flourished in Bolgheri's warm, yet maritime climate which resulted in unexpected success and reknown. It is here that one finds such famous names as Ornellaia, Tignanello and Sassicaia.