Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ornellaia Le Volte

Tenuta dell'Ornellaia
Le Volte

Sangiovese, Cabernet, Merlot
Bolgheri, Italy
$23.39 -- Twin Liquors, Bee Cave, TX

Color: Dark ruby with tiny brown tinge
Nose: Cherry, olive, rose, wet earth; mint and raspberry after a couple of hours
Body: Medium
Front: Cherry tea, or possibly cherry-flavored tobacco smoke
Middle: Licorice, black olive, coffee bean
Back: Thyme, soft but graphitic tannins
Burns clean?: Immaculately
Cap: Cork

This is an entry-level red for the famous Ornellaia brand. It's an odd blend, in my experience; this one is delightfully complex, with a beautiful nose. I'm no fan of Sangiovese in general, but the layers in this wine are seductive and ceaselessly changing. I've had the 2005, which was also delightful, but a little age seems to have benefited this. The texture is largely smooth, with some tannins still noticeable at the end, and it's light-bodied but complex-flavored.

Now, here is a thing: I think this is sort of a wine-geek wine. You'll find it on restaurant menus, I know, and if it's really old or really young, my guess is, it's a good call. But even this, at 5 years old, really only came into its own after a couple of hours open. So make 'em decant it, or aerate it, or something, just in case. And though it's made from varietals with legendary presence, the combination of them is quite fascinating and subtle. Some wines taste the same, each time you take a sip (within the first couple of hours after they're open, anyway). This one changes, and next to the fascinating aromas of the wine, it's the best part of the show.