A wine bottle can hold a story that is difficult to unravel. Fortunately there are people like Sergio Di Loreto who made wine their passion, and who enjoy sharing their discoveries. A few weeks ago, he was so kind to invite me for a visit at the acclaimed Ornellaia winery.
A welcome change of scenery: I trade in the rolling Chianti hills for Tuscany’s ‘wild’ Maremma region. A scenic drive along Bolgheri’s famed Cypress Avenue leads me to the tenuta. There, I join an impressive group of wine connoisseurs: Antonio [sommelier at Joia], Evelina Nappini, Mototsugu Hayashi [head sommelier at Dal Pescatore], Sanae Kachi and Sabino Berardino. Luckily I brought my camera as a justification to be part of this assembly.
Lunch is served: a refreshing ‘panzanella‘ to start, continued by a savory pork roast and wonderfully finished with a fruity ‘crostata‘. But the real stars are, of course, the wines: the flagship cuvée ’Ornellaia‘, the infamous ‘Masseto‘ [one of Italy's leading examples of Merlot] and a ‘prova di cantina‘ ‘Ornus‘ [a type of dessert wine or 'passito' not yet on the market].
We get to see where the sought after Masseto finds it’s origin: an 8 hectare Merlot section in the clay-rich vineyards surrounding the tenuta. What makes this ‘terroir’ so magical? The proximity of the sea, sun light and what Sergio calls ‘fattore F’: every great wine needs a little bit of ‘fortuna’ [luck].
We end our visit under an 150 year old oak tree surrounded by Ornellaia’s vineyards closest to the sea. This place is called ‘Bellaria’ or ‘wonderful air’. I can only agree …
Visit the Ornellaia winery:
Ornellaia e Masseto società agricola s.r.l.
Località Ornellaia, 191 – Fraz. Bolgheri
57022 Castagneto Carducci (LI)
T: 0565 718 11