The Ornellaia estate has been one of the crown jewels of Bolgheri and the Tuscan Maremma for many years now.  During 1997, the estate was still owned by Piero Antinori’s brother, Lodovico.  The brothers split ways years ago and have been making “competing” wines ever since. 
The 1997 Tenuta dell’Ornellaia – Ornellaia was served alongside roasted Easter lamb,  new potatoes, broccoli rabe with white beans, cauliflower with breadcrumbs, scallion pie and pizza rustica.  Unfortunately, the wine did not rise to the occasion.

I decanted the Ornellaia several hours before dinner to remove a large coffee grind like sediment from the bottle.  The wine is black.  You would never suspect that it was 14 years old.  In the glass, the wine has two dominating aromas and only two:  green peppers, and new, wet, green lumber.  I almost got splinters just smelling this wine!  In the mouth, the oak is not nearly as evident, but that raw component is there along with huge black fruit and plum flavors, with some licorice, mineral, and green herbs.  It’s ripe, and full bodied and there are ample acids providing structure. It’s uniquely Italian and frankly delicious, but I’ve had it show so much better and I could not get past the disappointing nose.  There was no point to even try enjoy smelling it.  As Gordon Ramsay would say:  “Damn”. 

This was purchased directly from Italy upon release and long before the price on this went through the roof.  I think it’s worth cellaring 5 more years to see if the nose evolves. The wine definitely has the stuffing to last at least that long.  However, at the current price, if this is what you’re getting, it’s an easy pass. 
89 points. 

1997 Ornellaia – “Damn”………..

I only managed to grab a picture of the raw lamb leg, covered in herbs and garlic, so I think I’ll pass on posting that, but some of the appetizers are below.  Both were delicious, but my favorite was clearly the Pizza Rustica, aka, “meat pie”.  Thank goodness for leftovers!

Scallion Pie and Pizza Rustica

Buona Pasqua!

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