Wine of Character: Ornellaia “La Generosità”

Ornellaia, the haute Italian Super Tuscan, is celebrated  for its persistent quality and luscious flavor. Year after year, this Bolgheri Rosso Superiore DOC cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot translates the essence of the vineyard parcels from which it originates, doing so with personality. Each vintage is attributed a representative characteristic; 2018 was named La Grazia in tribute to the blend’s sense of proportion and symmetry. 2019 was dubbed Il Vigore for the vintage’s healthy growth of the vines. 2020 was titled La Proporzione for the vintage’s ideal proportions. And the recently released 2021 vintage is termed La Generosità, reflecting the generosity of mid 2021’s mild climate and precious rainfall in the previously parched region.

Ornellaia 2021, “La Generosità”

“It’s precisely the generosity of our soils, together with the meticulous work of the team in the vineyard, that has led to a harvest of healthy grapes with great qualitative potential,” states Lamberto Frescobaldi, President of Marchesi Frescobaldi of the new vintage, a fresh, elegant, delicately balanced, light-filled interpretation of the sun and sea. “To reflect this giving land, La Generosità is the character chosen to reflect the essence of Ornellaia 2021.”

“Ornellaia 2021 is a very expressive and complex wine,” adds Marco Balsimelli, Technical Director at Ornellaia. “With hints of Mediterranean scrub, juniper berries, and with classic aromas of blackcurrant, there’s a notable density and a fleshy tannic texture that fills the palate with precision, length and flavor.”

Lamberto Frescobaldi, President Marchesi Frescobaldi and Marco Balsimelli, Production Director Ornellaia

Established in 1981 in a region along the Tuscan coast not traditionally known for grape cultivation, the Ornellaia estate was part of the original Super Tuscan revolution. In 2001, the 1998 Ornellaia was declared ‘Wine of the Year’ by Wine Spectator. In 2011 the German publication Der Feinschmecker awarded Ornellaia its most sought-after award, the ‘Weinlegende.’ Each distinct vintage contains varied percentages of each Bordeaux varietal, yet every vintage speaks of the Ornellaia terroir as a single, unified voice.

And since 2006, every vintage has been captured in art form by an artist of renown who is invited to reflect the character artistically, via the winery’s Vendemmia d’Artista project. The Ornellaia Vendemmia d’Artista project, now in its 16thseason, celebrates the exclusive character of each new vintage of Ornellaia via a site-specific artwork and a set of limited-edition labels inspired by the “personality” selected by the technical team to describe the new vintage. The 2021 vintage is interpreted by award-winning Italian artist Marinella Senatore who chose to portray the theme through the medium of collage.

Marinella Senatore, artist for Ornellaia 2021

Senatore is a multidisciplinary artist trained in the fields of music, fine arts and cinema. Her practice combines aesthetic research with the transformative power of social engagement. Via pop culture, dance, music, mass events, and activism, she reflects on the political nature of collective formations and rituals, and their possibility for social change.

“This vintage of Ornellaia encapsulates a symphony of sensory experiences that captivated me as an artist,” said Senatore. “Finding inspiration for the project was a journey that delved into both the tangible and intangible aspects of the brand. Ornellaia’s commitment to excellence, its deep-rooted connection to the land, and its history provided a rich tapestry of inspiration. I was able to visit the vineyards, where I tried to embrace the sights, scents, and textures of the landscape. I had the chance to see the craftsmanship and dedication behind the wine’s production. The theme connected precisely to generosity, of giving and sharing, which resonated deeply with me: my artistic research is in fact deeply rooted in the relationships between people and building a sense of community.”

Senatore’s Ornellaia labels were conceived as a set of collages, telling the Ornellaia story, from the land to the energy of the people involved to the communities and visitors that love Bolgheri. There are different scenes in which the stars influence the quality of this energy, and the quality of the wine itself. A label styled by the artist is featured on one of the six 750 ml bottles in every case of Ornellaia. The project also includes a limited edition of 111 large-format bottles (100 Jeroboams – 3 liters, 10 Imperials – 6 liters and 1 Salmanazar – 9 liters), which Senatore numbers and signs. Every year, a selection of these bottles is auctioned by Sotheby’s and the profits support the Mind’s Eye program by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which allows blind and low vision people to access the world of art.

The Ornellaia Estate, Bogheri, Italy

“Partnering with Ornellaia is a profound honor and a testament to the power of collaboration between art and craftsmanship,” adds Senatore. “Ornellaia is excellence in the world of Italian winemaking, renowned for its commitment to innovation and social engagement. For me, this partnership signifies a convergence of two worlds – art and viticulture – each with its own rich heritage and traditions, bringing forward a legacy of cultural enrichment and philanthropy.”

Photos courtesy of Ornellaia



Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.