What Happened? Le Serre Nuove dell'Ornellaia 2015

Ornellaia 2015 Le Serre Nuove dell’Ornellaia Bolgheri 14.5%

Those who follow wine closely know that it is a living drink. Like people, wine has good and bad days. 

I deeply hoped this 2015 Le Serre Nuove was having a bad day when I first tasted it professionally then drank it over several hours with dinner. It was astonishingly disappointing. A second bottle was modestly more satisfying but effectively identical. It certainly did not live up to my standard for Le Serre Nuove, a wine that I have tasted in its various phases – different winemakers, blends, vintages and so forth – for almost two decades.

Its fruit was thin and unrecognizably light in concentration. The legendary depth of Tenuta dell’Ornellaia was evidently absent in this bottling. It tasted like young vine fruit, which is what it is. That’s perfectly fine, but this is Le Volte quality level. The suggested price of this 64% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot is $82. On wine-searcher.com, it averages about $60. It tastes like it’s worth about $25. 

This is an utterly unimpressive bottling of Le Serre Nuove in a very solid Tuscan vintage. Out of curiosity, I checked out the reviews of fellow US critics, and I cannot believe that we are tasting the same wine. Something is off here, and with two bottles tasted six weeks apart bearing extremely similar notes, it simply cannot be me. I can’t help but wonder if there were multiple bottlings?

This wine’s brambly fruits and touches of cedar along with a fresh palate centered by well-placed, mouthwatering acidity and vaguely grippy tannins make this wine’s most appealing characteristic its texture. Flavor-wise there is an wholly unexpected modesty of concentration that comes across as hollow and lackluster. The finish is clipped. What is very satisfying – and pleasantly surprising on first thought – about this bottling is that it holds nicely over four days. Then again, that the second bottle hardly changed is odd. Every wine should evolve over such a period, even when sealed with a VacuVin and stored in a wine fridge.
Drink: 2019-21