Monday, December 30, 2013

Report from ... Ornellaia 25th Anniversary Lunch at Barbarian Steak House - November 26, 2013

The line-up of wines for today's Ornellaia lunch
Ornellaia is a small property in Tuscany that has made a big name for themselves, it is located in an area called Bolgheri which was a region best known for Rosato of Sangiovese.  The first Cabernet Sauvignon was planted in the region in the 1940's.  

Ornellaia was the second estate to be established in the region in 1985 ... they have a 90 hectare property made up of 65 plots that are farmed individually consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot; according to our host, Mr. Alessandro Lunardi, director US and Latin America, "each expresses a character we would like to translate into Ornellaia."

At Ornellaia the key to all their wines is balance: "if a wine starts off in balance and harmony then it will remain that way." (Alessandro Lunardi)

All the wines are aged in oak individually before the blend is determined.

Lunch was being held in the wine cellar of Barbarian Steak House in dowtown Toronto ...
Looking down from above at the cellar
the tasting included 5 wines: 4 back vintage and the current release

... 1998 ...
this wine garnered the #1 wine of the year by Wine Spectator Magazine
acidity still pretty high on this one
nose is smoky with dried red berries, cedar and forest floor notes
palate is smoky with wood character, comes across a little hot with alcohol
... 2001 ...
nose has lots of red berry mixed with blackberry
palate is a nice balance of juicy, smoky and spicy
chocolate notes kick in near the pretty and elgant finish
... 2005 ...
One of two favourites of the tasting
this marks the first year that Petit Verdot found its way into the blend (4%)
nose has cherry, chocolate, cassis and blackberry
palate has great cherry, chocolate, and raspberry
fruit is up front with a big tannin hit, also has well-balanced acidity
... 2007 ...
My other favourite of the tasting
this one has a hard palate, much too young for drinking now,
but shows great potential for the future
fruit is black and massive, tannins are also big and chewy
but it show really great balance
... 2010 ...
the '10 seems softer than most of the others
fruit is the star here, it's more delicate (especially when compared to the '07)
vanilla, cinnamon and clove while the spice seems more approachable
though there are still quite a bite of tannin on the finish (****+)
Our starter wine: 2011 Le Serre Nuove
Ornellaia's second wine, which helps to reduce the amount of the big wine,
cutting it in half - the label was started in 1997
for this wine they are looking for more approachability sooner
this 2011 is blackberry, black cherry and quite spicy (****+)
The Lunch ...

lunch included a Caesar Salad
and although it's a steak house I gave the salmon steak a try - nice

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