Ornellaia’s Le Serre Nuove Vertical Tasting 20th October 2014

Micah, our buying assistant, shares his thoughts on a recent vertical tasting of La Serre Nuove, second wine of Ornellaia: This week spelled a lucky opportunity for the wine trade – a chance to taste through a rare collection of previous vintages of Serre Nuove courtesy of celebrated winemaker, Axel Heinz. Axel’s experience in Bordeaux has helped him shape the wines of Ornellaia in recent years to produce some of the most outstanding bottlings in the estate’s illustrious history.

The modestly-priced Le Serre Nuove made for an impressive line up, and as Heinz puts it‘Today’s Serre Nuove are probably as good as the early Ornellaia’, partly owing to the increasing vine age, he believes.

Desipte the ‘Super-Tuscan’ label, Axel doesn’t see these wines as Bordeaux blends or imitations and refutes the term ‘international varieties’ when used in context of the Bolgheri region. As he sees it, Sangiovese does not grow well here, but Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot produce excellent wines. Wines of ‘unmistakable personalty’.

Below I include some quite rough and ready notes from our tasting. If they whet your appetite, it’s worth noting that we still have availability for the 2011 – widely regarded as the best ever produced.

 

2012 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

52% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot

Good concentration, nice plush fruit but no over-ripeness. Plenty of graphite-smoke and quite focussed. Very finely textured tannins, softened by generous fruit extract. Nice soft freshness too. Slightly plusher feel than the 2010. Tannin does build a little but is ripe and well supported by acid-structure. Good fruit on palate but not sweet.

 

2010 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

45% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot

Noticeable but subtle development. A touch of wildness to the fruit and hints of tobacco but with a good core of dark fruit. Touch of alcohol on the palate but generous and well integrated freshness, light texture and gentle weight. Some savoury flavours come through on the palate. Tannin builds but nicely in balance. No overt fruit on the palate.

 

2008 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc 6% Petit Verdot

More alive than the 2010, nice medley of fruits – some red and plenty of black and no lack of concentration. Some herbal complexity, nicely balanced nose and nice feeling of coolness. Very generous palate – great shape, plentiful freshness with integrated flavour. Not plush but good mouth-filling texture. It’s impossible to resist the Merlot character but this is not too supple – the structure is quite serious.

 

2007 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc 5% Petit Verdot

Nice use of oak. Fruit is developed and aromatic with well integrated oak flavour. Still core fruit with attractive and open wild character. Tobacco and spice come through to make for a very enticing nose. Quite textured on the palate with good intense flavours. Acidity is persistent but matched by the texture. Attractive but careful development on the nose with confident, masculine palate and cool fruit on the finish.

 

2006 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc 6% Petit Verdot

Some opulence to the berries but nicely perfumed and very pure. Not dissimilar in expression to the 2012. Hints of pepper come through but it’s impossible to escape the purity of fruit. No obvious oak. Great shape on the palate – slow acidity, fruit-laden but not sweet or flashy, extremely fine texture leads to gentle but expansive tannins. Soft, good concentration and impressive intensity on the palate.

 

2005 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia

50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc 5% Petit Verdot

Impressive nose: still with surprising depth – core of dark fruit is cool and lies underneath some open aromatics – developed sweet toast flavours with hints of mushroom and cured meats. Great freshness on the palate with delicious mouthfeel but not lacking concentration or fruit. Savoury flavours come through nicely.  Good shape, great balance.

Published on 22/10/2014 / By Robbie Toothill