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Tenuta dell’Ornellaia
One of Italy’s most expensive wines (a Salamanzar or 12-bottle was sold at Christie's in New York for €18,500 in 2007, equivalent to €22,800 in 2019), if you’re looking for a behemoth of a Chianti then look no further. Named the “Petrus of Italy”, if you can manage to add a case of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia to your portfolio, cellar or table then welcome to the big league.
A tale of two brothers
Older brother and Godfather of super Tuscan wines, Piero Antinori is often considered the leader of the super-Tuscan revolution. Not to be outdone however was younger brother Ludovico. Inheriting a large sum in 1982, he bought 70-hectares in maritime Tuscany and planted them with Bordeaux varieties. He then set about creating a perfect estate, hiring renowned staff and building a state of the art winery. So essentially, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia was born out of sibling rivalry.

Unsurprisingly, the competition between brothers wouldn’t last. Despite producing excellent wines, financial worries ensued and Ludovico sold his estate in 2001 to Robert Moldovi. Hopes were high that his legacy would live on but sadly no, in 2002 Mondovi sold half the estate to the Frescobaldi family. Ultimately that wouldn't last either - in 2004 Mondovi sold his remaining 50% stake to commercial giants Constellation Brands (of Corona and Funky Buddha fame). Frescobaldi and Constellation were now equal partners but Ornellaia had still not found its tranquillity. Finally, in 2005, Frescobaldi took complete control of the estate and set about the business of making some seriously good wine.
Winez meanz Heinz
Like a child of bickering, divorcing parents, we have to wonder whether all the upheaval has this affected the wine? Happily no. Despite the differing visions of Ornellaia’s owner, along with the arrival of senior winemaker Axel Heinz and Ornellaia’s time to shine has finally arrived. Heinz’s first vintage in 2006 was branded “magnificent” and awarded 97 points by Antonio Gallioni of Vinous. Using his magic touch, Axel has found the sweet spot for the blend: between 50-60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20/25% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, with a seasoning of Petit Verdot sometimes thrown in, depending on the vintage. This has proved successful for Ornellia, and the Giacosa Quintarelli is the most currently expensive wine (between €400-500). Masseto, the above-mentioned sister-wine sold at auction in 2007 is the benchmark of all super-Tuscan wines.

Ornellaia is one of the best performing components of the Liv-ex Italy 50 index and little volatility makes any investment in the fine wine very tempting.