Luce is a singular and irresistible expression of Montalcino, a Super Tuscan with an exotic side, and above all full of pleasure. The spectacular estate’s diversity of soils, expositions and biodiversity of olive groves and forests come together in a wine as vibrant and exciting as the landscape.
From the beginning, Luce was a bold proposition. The iconic estate located in the hills of southwest Montalcino was originally identified as a great area by the Marchese Vittorio Frescobaldi in the 1960s, and later launched as the Luce partnership between the Marchese and California wine legend Robert Mondavi. The wine was first produced from an outstanding Sangiovese vineyard along with a surprising experimental planting of Merlot from the 1960s done by a French company based in Bordeaux. Combining the roundness and softness of Merlot with the structure and elegance of Sangiovese might seem an obvious idea today, especially after the last 20 years of Super Tuscan history, but this was a first in Montalcino. That blending approach is still followed today, and what is so attractive about the result is, in fact, the character of Montalcino that shines through: the dark fruit, power and structure, the complexity of floral and spice notes, the chewiness of the tannin.
The estate’s iconic name and packaging (Luce translates to “light” in Italian) was inspired by the altar at the Santo Spirito church in Florence – a landmark church built on land donated by the Frescobaldi family during the Renaissance.
The Luce estate covers 615 acres, 217 of which are planted with Sangiovese and Merlot. The estate is in the southwest of Montalcino, at one of the highest elevation points, and south/southwest facing; the freshness and structure that result play in tension with the deep, perfectly ripe fruit. Higher elevation planting have sandstone and limestone, and are ideal for Sangiovese. Clay in the lower altitude vineyards is perfect for the powerful expression of Merlot.
The Merlot and Sangiovese grapes are harvested and fermented separately in multiple harvests, with rigorous fruit selection during picking and meticulous hand sorting. Fermentation is spontaneous with no added yeasts. Blending takes place immediately after fermentation and maceration and prior to barrel aging.
Aging takes place exclusively in French oak in order to develop the wine’s potential and achieve a perfect balance of flavors while respecting and reflecting the characteristics of the vintage.
Following a rainy winter that helped maintain the water reserves accumulated during the previous season, the budding phase began at the beginning of April. The plants developed steadily thanks to a sunny and dry season which helped maintain the plants in good health throughout the entire growing phase.
The hot, long summer was mitigated by two intense August rainfalls, which provided the ideal conditions for a uniform, intense and stress free ripening of the grapes.
The wine’s complex nose of ripe fruit features dominant cherry and plum aromas introduced by spicy highlights of vanilla and ginger bread that pave the way for softer notes of cinnamon and cloves. To the palate, the wine is genuine and structured. The tannins are present but elegant and not aggressive, providing a broad and dense frame to the wine. The wine is pleasant with a sustained finish dominated by a wonderful crispness.
James Suckling -
Other Wines by this Producer
Lucente is the second wine of Luce, a wine with contemporary style, immediate and great pleasure, and like its elder sibling, an authentic interpretation of Montalcino and the Luce estate.
Luce Brunello is the winery’s tribute to Montalcino and the wine that emerged there in the second half of the 19th century to become one of Italy's crowning jewels in wine production. It is produced in a very small quantity to showcase the unique character of a pure Sangiovese from the Luce estate vineyards and pay tribute to the winemaking tradition of Montalcino.