Troy's visit to Tenuta dell'Ornellaia

Recently Wineology co-founder Troy Brown visited Tenuta Ornellaia as a guest of Frescobaldi Italy, the vineyard’s owners, to learn more about the terroir and philosophy of the Tenuta. He came back with an even bigger opinion of the wine and its place in the world fine wine hierarchy.

Even as an Australian wine lover, I was captivated by Tenuta dell'Ornellaia's dedication to crafting wines that reflect the essence of the Bolgheri region. The winery's illustrious history and the remarkable collection of awards serve as a testament to the unwavering pursuit of excellence. A visit to this Italian gem is an unforgettable experience that allows wine enthusiasts to appreciate the artistry and passion that goes into every bottle produced at Tenuta dell'Ornellaia.

One cannot mention Tenuta dell'Ornellaia without highlighting its extensive list of accolades. The estate's flagship wine, Ornellaia, has consistently received critical acclaim, solidifying its position as one of Italy's most prestigious offerings. This Bordeaux-style blend, primarily composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, showcases the winery's commitment to producing wines of unparalleled elegance and complexity.

Over the years, Ornellaia has garnered numerous international awards, including coveted recognition from renowned wine publications and influential critics. The wine's consistent placement on the "Top 100 Wines of the World" list further underscores its exceptional quality and global appeal.

It's an expensive special occasion wine and I have a bottle already set aside for a special birthday. We have some bottles of the 2018 available now. If we get some interest from you, we can put a vintage in the machine for us all to try!

Beyond Ornellaia, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia's portfolio features other remarkable wines, such as Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia (which is often in our machines) and Ornellaia Bianco, offering diverse expressions of the estate's winemaking prowess.

Vineyard Management

The estate's vineyards are carefully tended to by a skilled team of viticulturists. They employ sustainable farming practices, including careful pruning, precise canopy management, and selective hand-harvesting. This hands-on approach ensures optimal grape quality and flavour development.


The Bolgheri region's unique terroir, characterised by its proximity to the sea, clay and loam soils, and moderate climate, plays a crucial role in shaping the wines of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia. The winery embraces the distinctive characteristics of the terroir and strives to showcase them in each bottle.

Grape Selection

Only the finest grapes make the cut at Tenuta dell'Ornellaia. The vineyard team meticulously hand-selects the grapes during harvest, ensuring that only the healthiest and ripest clusters are chosen. This careful selection process guarantees the highest quality raw material for the winemaking process. 


The winemaking team at Tenuta dell'Ornellaia employs a combination of modern techniques and traditional methods to craft their wines. Fermentation takes place in small, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, allowing for precise control over the process. The use of gravity-flow techniques ensures gentle handling of the grapes, preserving their delicate flavours.


Ornellaia wines undergo extended ageing in French oak barrels, carefully selected to complement the unique characteristics of each vintage. Each 6 months the barrels are emptied, washed and then refilled in a labour intensive process that helps preserve the freshness of the wine. Only 100% new french oak is used.


A meticulous blending process takes place to create the signature wines of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia. Each varietal is vinified separately as is each plot so there is 70 different wines aged. The blending then takes place to create the Ornellaia and the Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia which is a newer fresher version at a lower price point. But it is its own wine and not to be considered a second wine of Ornellaia.

By focusing on vineyard management, grape selection, meticulous winemaking techniques, and quality control, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia has fine tuned a commitment to producing wines of exceptional quality. This dedication to craftsmanship and attention to detail have elevated the estate to the pinnacle of the wine industry, captivating wine enthusiasts worldwide.


Troy's tasting notes of the Ornellaia 2020

Here is my first attempt at a publishable tasting note taken from my list I keep from every wine I get to taste. This is the Ornellaia 2020 after that had been opened two hours earlier and was poured from the bottle:

The Tenuta dell'Ornellaia wine opens with a captivating aromatic profile. Notes of blackberry intermingling with a gentle touch of oak. There is a hint of medicinal character, adding a unique complexity to the bouquet. As the wine evolves in the glass, a delicate veil of vanilla emerges, courtesy of its maturation in French oak barrels.
On the palate, the French oak sweetness gracefully intertwines with the dominant fruit flavours. The blackberry takes centre stage, offering a luscious and ripe expression. The plum notes join in, further enhancing the richness of the wine. The tannins play across the fruit, adding a delightful textural element that persists over an extended period. The length of the wine is nothing short of stratospheric, with fruit lingering on the palate for minutes.
The extended finish allows the flavours to unfold gradually, revealing layers of complexity and depth. As the tasting experience reaches its final moments, a subtle note of coffee emerges, adding a delightful and lingering touch.


Final thoughts

The wines from Tenuta dell'Ornellaia embody the artistry and precision of their winemaking process. It combines the opulence of the fruit, the finesse of French oak, and the impeccable structure of the tannins to create a truly remarkable drinking experience.

Ornellaia can be enjoyed now and will match perfectly with our wagyu skirt pepper steak in-venue, however I will be ensuring my bottle is cellared for further development. We have a few bottles of the 2018 and a few of the 2019 Bianco available to purchase, and the Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia is in the machines.

Now I am excited to add some aged Ornellia to the top of my ‘wines to find’ list.

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