There is something so intimate about being invited into someone’s home and having him cook for you.
But when he starts pouring amazing wines that date back to 2002 you have to wonder if maybe you took care of his child in a previous life.
Alesandro Lunardi, Director, North America, at Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, invited a few of us previous-life baby-sitters over for lunch and offered a Le Serre Nuove tasting from 2002 to 2013.
Le Serre Nuove is the “second wine” of the infamous Ornellaia Estate, one of Italy’s greatest wine houses.
The Estate is blessed because it is in Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast, just south of Livorno. It is one of Italy’s most prestigious vineyard areas.
Located near the sea and protected by neighboring hills, the microclimate practically guarantees perfect conditions. Even better, the sea breezes temper the summer heat, and hills provide protection from the cold winter winds.
But making Ornellaia requires time. The grapes are picked from very old vines and then need at least 2.5 years from barrel to the store shelves.
The 2012 is a Bordeaux blend:
- 56% Cabernet Sauvignon,
- 27% Merlot
- 10% Cabernet Franc
- 7% Petit Verdot
And it’ll run you about $185 a bottle.
Well God bless the Italians, they need something to drink while they wait for their wines to age.
So they created a second label. Think of it as foreplay before sex.
Le Serre Nuove di Ornellaia was born in 1997.
It needs less than 2 years from barrel to store shelf and retails for about $60. And the wine comes from the exact same star-kissed place and goes under same process as its Big Daddy. The grapes for Le Serre Nuove are just picked from younger vines.
The 2012 is:
- 52% Merlot
- 28% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 12% Cabernet Franc
- 8% Petit Verdot
Lunardi poured the ’02, ’04, ’11 and ‘13.
The ’02 tasted of plums and berries whereas I got more chocolate in the ’04.
Now 2011 was such a blessed year and the wine is so fabulous that it is now the new benchmark, says Lunardi. That’s because 2011, much like 2015, was warmer and drier.
So here’s your little farming lesson for the day: That dryness puts vines under stress, which basically means the vines produce smaller berries. But smaller berries mean more concentrated flavor. So some stress is a good thing – at least for grapes.
And now here’s your investment lesson for the day: Go buy a magnum of the 2011 — if you can get it — and I’ll bet you a glass of it that it appreciates more than the stock market.
I say pair Le Serre Nuove with a chair on your front porch on a nice fall day. If you must eat, go with Lunardi’s menu. He first served a mozzarella and tomato salad. And then made a wonderful pasta dish with a tomato-less bolognese sauce .
The first time I had the wine was with a Veal Milanese with arugula salad on top. Amazing.
And while foreplay is super fun, many of you know I’m a Le Volte fan too, which costs about $25. That’s Ornellaia’s 3rd label.
The first kiss maybe?
And you know I would love to hear your thoughts on this, the wines you are drinking or anything else…so send a quick note!