Ornellaia begins ‘great’ 2016 harvest

Italian producer Ornellaia has begun harvesting in one of its earliest harvests in recent years but one on a par with the 2001 or 2006 it claims.

OrnellaiaThe Tuscan estate began harvesting its Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier on 22 August and is gearing up to begin picking the red grapes.

Axel Heinz, director and winemaker at Ornellaia, explained that the precocious harvest was a result of “no significant rainfall” during August.

“Significant heat in July and August speeded up the ripening process,” he explained. “Fortunately, Bolgheri is a blessed island in that it experiences wide day-night temperature differentials, which in turn allows the vines to recover during the night from the daytime heat and dryness. In addition, the depth of our soils creates optimal conditions for developing the aromatic qualities of our grapes.”

He said that the white grapes showed “excellent component levels”, with a potential alcohol level of 13% and good acidity.

The pickers began on the Merlot this week and will move onto other varieties next week.

Heinz added: “Looking at things at this moment, it is quite possible that 2016 could be among the best vintages at Ornellaia, on a par with 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2012, which were all characterized by hot, dry summers and yet gave us wines of great concentration, structure, and richness.

“The first vine-rows we pick are never the whole story, so we are still sampling all the various vineyards and evaluating their data. In point of fact, though, the figures we are seeing do indicate a vintage similar to the great ones of past years.”

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