Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Ornellaia, important bolgheri estate founded in 1981 by Lodovico antinori, brother of Piero Antinori, following in the footsteps of nearby Tenuta San Guido’s phenomenal success with sassicaia. The estate was created when Lodovico acquired 70 ha of land from his mother, sister-in-law of the owner of Tenuta San Guido. He hired André Tchelistcheff as his consultant. He planted Bordeaux grape varieties and the first commercial vintage, 1985, was an immediate success, eclipsed by the estate’s release in 1986 of Masseto, a Pomerol-styled Merlot from a single vineyard. Michel rolland succeeded Tchelistcheff. In 1999 Lodovico sold a share of Ornellaia to Robert mondavi who took complete control of the estate in 2003 with the Frescobaldi family (with whom Mondavi had already started a Tuscan joint venture to produce the internationally styled supertuscan Luce). In 2005 constellation brands, which had acquired Mondavi, sold the remaining 50% of Ornellaia to Frescobaldi. This recent somewhat stormy history has never compromised the wine’s popularity nor its commercial value. Meanwhile, in 2001 Lodovico, together with Piero Antinori, founded a new estate in Bibbona north of Bolgheri, Tenuta di Biserno, where Rolland is involved in the production of Bordeaux-style wines.