Wine is always a sure bet when it comes to holiday gifts and entertaining, but with so many labels to choose from picking the right one can be a challenge…regardless of whether you’re a wine collector, or a casual drinker. You can almost never go wrong when choosing an Italian wine, but to help narrow down the selection, here are a few suggestions to please any palate and price range:
- Luce della Vite went against the grain, creating a Sangiovese-Merlot blend in Montalcino where Brunello’s reigned. Those looking for the same quality, but a less expensive alternative should reach for Lucente ($28). The Sangiovese-Merlot composition of Lucente is further complimented with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is an elegant yet versatile wine, the perfect companion for both regional and international cuisine.
- One of the top makers of Super Tuscans – Tenuta dell’Ornellaia offers high-quality seconds – and thirds for that matter. The Tuscan classic, Ornellaia sells at $175-190 at fine wine retailers. But for more affordable options consider the ‘second and third vins’ of the estate – Le Serre Nuove ($50) or Le Volte ($28), which have a similar flavor profile.
- And for the person who has it all, Masseto, the gold standard of Merlot, is among a class of its own, transcending region and varietal. Serious wine collectors will want to hold on to it and see its value increase. Suggested retail price $400. Limited number of cases slated for U.S. distribution.
We suggest, for your dining pleasure, Le Serre Nuove (SRP: $50). For the price, you will be delighted with the elegance, balance and subtle fruit. Happy Holiday!
Bolgheri DOC Rosso
Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia 2006
35% Cabernet Sauvignon
9% Cabernet Franc
6% Petit Verdot
Climate and Harvest:
The winter of 2006 was cold and wet enough that budbreak was delayed despite the hot spring days that followed, and
full bloom only arrived in the first week of June. The usual vigor of the buds was accompanied by good productivity
that did require moderate pruning, in the younger vineyards as well; a moderate pruning of this kind is indicative of
good balance between vegetative growth and fruit production. During the summer there was almost no rainfall on the
Fortunately, the temperatures never became excessive, and this allowed the vines to develop good aromatic potentials. At the beginning of the harvest the grapes were perfect: concentrated and uniformly ripe. The sunny, well ventilated days at the beginning of September allowed us to harvest the Merlot and Cabernet Franc at just the right moment. The steady rains that fell on September 15 and 16 slowed the ripening of the Cabernet Sauvignon, though a wait of a few days was sufficient to allow the grapes to reach perfect ripeness and make their journey to the cellars, where the harvest ended late in the afternoon of October 4. Vinification and Ageing:
The grapes were handpicked into 15 kg baskets; the bunches were checked on a double selection table, before and after
destemming, and finally soft-pressed. Each varietal and parcel was vinified separately. The primary fermentation, in
stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 26 and 30° C for a period of about a week, was followed by 10-15 days of
maceration on the skins. The malolactic fermentation, which began in the steel tanks, finished after the wine was racked
into barriques (25% new and 75% a year old). The wine remained in barriques in Ornellaia’s temperature-controlled
cellars for about 15 months.
After the first 12 months the wine was assembled, and then returned to the barriques for an additional three months of
aging. After bottling, the wine aged another 6 months prior to release.
Le Serre Nuove is Ornellaia’s second wine, and its characteristics are determined by the final assembly of the various
barriques. The grapes from the estate’s youngest vineyards generally predominate in the Serre Nuove blend. The volume
of Serre Nuove produced depends upon both the vintage and the final assembly, and thus varies from year to year
Winemaker ‘s Notes:
The fruit of an especially concentrated vintage, Le Serre Nuove 2006 displays a decidedly rich, mature personality.
Deeply colored, it presents warm red berry fruit, coca, and spice aromas. On the palate it’s ample and round, with
perfectly ripe, well polished tannins and rich fruit supported by perfectly balanced acidity. The union of Merlot’s
richness, Petit Verdot’s freshness, and the Cabernets’ structure forge an unmistakable path for the 2006
via Bolgherese, 191 – 57022 Castagneto Carducci Italia – Tel. 1234567 Fax 123456 – http://www.ornellaia.com firstname.lastname@example.org