Located just southwest of the medieval town of Montalcin, Luce Della Vite wine estates is owned and run by the famous Tuscan wine family Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, who have been producing wines for over 700 years and were the first family to start planting Merlot in the region.
Spanning some 474 acres, the Luce della Vite estate uses non-indigneous varietals, and with altitudes ranging from 1,148 to 1,378 feet, the estate is one of the most elevated in Montalcino. At higher elevations, the soils are rich in shale, well drained with cooling breezes, giving way to ideal conditions to cultivate the Sangiovese grape. At lower altitudes, the vineyards provide and environment perfect for cultivating Merlot. This grape has an affinity for the terroir at Luce della Vite: west-northwest orientation, low exposure to the hot midday sun, and soils rich in clay and moisture. The combination of these two varietals is what Luce della Vite uses to create Lucente, it’s super Tuscan red blend.
Lucente 2010 (SRP $29), Montalcino, Italy
75% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese. Alcohol: 14.5%. Aging: New French Oak, American Oak, used French Oak, and Stainless Steel.
Winemaker notes: The grapes are carefully selected to yield a wine with a contemporary flair, reflective of its distinctive terroir. The wine matures for 12 months in the barrel room at the Luce della Vite estate in Montalcino and is then bottled in the cellar there. The wine itself is incredibly smooth and has lots of dark red and black fruit notes with hints of espresso, nutmeg and cocoa on the palate. The lasting fruit on the finish countered by dusty tannins would make it a great match for chocolate.
Our tasting notes:
Smoky, dusty notes of cocoa and dark, bittersweet chocolate come through immediately. The wine opens to reveal flavors of coffee, dark black fruits, and a very dry, rich finish that rolls around the tongue and mouth. Very silky and lush, with glints of menthol and herbs. Color is a deep, inky purple with long legs. We can’t stress enough how dusty and complex this wine is, and we’d be very happy to have a case in our cellar for special occasions, or just a wine dinner with friends. A very elegant, full bodied wine. Drink now or cellar through 2015. 91 points.
Initially, we tried this wine for a chocolate pairing with Brix 70% cocoa – a brand specifically created for wine and chocolate pairings. The wine made the chocolate creamy, sweet, and tasty, but after a bite or two, we realized this big, bold red deserved something serious to match. Our perfect wine pairing recommendation for Lucente is a filet mignon, or as we created, a chile and cocoa rubbed flank steak. This is a killer wine, and as such, we’d recommend something rich in flavor, with a little spice to bring out the big, bold notes in this wine.