Allesandro Lunardi, brand manager of Ornellaia
The event I attended this past week at the Armani Restaurant at 717 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, featured the release of the 2011 L’Infinitio, a wine according to winemaker Axel Heinz, as an “exceptional wine from one of the greatest vintages ever made”.
Located near the Tuscan coast, the unspoiled property of the Ornellaia estate was established in 1981, quite recent in wine history. The hills that surround the estate shelter the vineyard from the winter winds and extreme cold that could damage the vines. Instead, the gentle sea breezes and summer heat plus perfect soils help create a microclimate that is unmatched by others who have vineyards near the quaint village of Bolgheri, home of Ornellaia.
Allesandro Lunardi explained that the unspoiled home of Ornellaia is also close to the route of migratory birds and other protected species. The growing conditions in 2011 saw warm weather which resulted in a concentration of the grapes and an early bud break which was both rapid and consistent, a sign of a promising vintage.. Sea breezes helped lessen the extreme summer heat, while the ripening process was in full swing. An early harvest in September, when the weather was sunny and dry, helped maintain the rich tannins and fresh acidity of the 2011 crop.
As appetizers were passed around, I sampled my first glass of the 2011 vintage. What engulfed me immediately were the complex aromas that gave way to an expressive, velvety wine that balanced the concentrated fruit in such a way that the tannins were hidden to let the acidity shine.
The 2011 Ornellaia L’Infinito will be a wine to cherish for many years to come.
Maybe Ornellaia winemaker Axel Heinz and brand ambassador Allesandro Lunardi will be join me at my house for a dinner that will feature the 2011 with a food pairing of my choice? The wine's complexity paired with concentrated fruit will certainly pair with a wide range of international foods.
Philip S. Kampe
Wine Media Guide member