Vinous – 95
The 1997 Ornellaia (magnum) is a big, fat wine endowed with tons of fruit. Mocha, coffee beans and ripe, dark fruit emerge from the glass on a rich, opulent frame. The structural elements are easy to overlook, as the tannins are so juicy and ripe, and the fruit is incredibly intense. Simply put, everything is in the right place. Not surprisingly, 1997 is the year Ornellaia introduced their second wine, Le Serre Nuove, and the extra selection that was carried out to produce this wine has paid off big time. The 1997 is also the first Ornellaia in which Merlot is a full 30% of the blend, while Cabernet Sauvignon is 65% and Cabernet Franc is 5%. It is also the first year in which the percentage of new oak is 50%. In many ways, the 1997 is a wine that signals a move towards the more extroverted style that is common here these days. The 1997 Ornellaia, like many wines from Tuscany that year, is marked by a unique growing season that saw an April frost lower yields dramatically, followed by a hot, dry summer which concentrated the remaining fruit to a levels not seen previously. It remains a magnificent example of this Tuscan classic.
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2017
JancisRobinson.com – 17.5
Exceptionally dark crimson with black tones. Very warm and very Napa Valley – very ripe. Sweet – advertises hang time. Very easy to drink without food though there are some quite marked tannins on the finish. Very lush but not very terroir driven. A bit jagged and Unknit. 14% CS:M:CF 65:30:5 138,000 bottles (and the second wine Le Serre Nuove was born)
Anticipated maturity: 2007-2017