Montalcino, five vintages of Luce
On 12 June Lamberto Frescobaldi, excellent ambassador of the Florentine stock, tookd us through a mini vertical tasting of Luce, a review of others that we have taken part in through these years, and a prelude to the complete one planned for next year. The elite occasion was a showcase for the Venini glassworks’ new creations: Fiori di Luce, Vino, Terra, Foglia, as always, masterpieces of the Venetian art, where, without rhetoric, it is the vibrant intrigue of light and colour that arouses great emotion.
Getting back to wine, we must remember that it is an important creation for Lamberto, the first wine that he looked after personally. Many remember that it started off as a joint venture with the Mondavi family, who then had to give up their stake when their business was taken over by Constellation Brands. At that point the Frescobaldi family took advantage of the chance to buy and took over 100% of the company.
It is well known that Luce is an unusual wine from Montalcino, but with a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, IGT of course. From old vineyards of international varieties inherited by the Frescobaldi from another French winery, Vittorio Frescobaldi decided to keep only the Merlot because it gave excellent results and was planted on clay, the ideal companion for this variety: it retains moisture, gives freshness, which it needs and which we think will be more and more sought after in the near future.
One last note, before going on to talk about the tasting: Luce has an international image, almost of a wine more loved abroad than in Italy. This is not the case, however. Italy is its number one market.
Five vintages of Luce, “differently Montalcino”
2011. The colour is still purplish on the rim; an elegant mint, balsamic, plum and cherry nose. The earthy nuances of a great wine are beginning to emerge, with a hint of leather and fur that takes us straight into Tuscany, because it is obviously not an “international” wine. On the palate the tannins are silky and abundant, long, weighty, fresh, balanced with a chocolate and ash finish. (88/100)
2006. An important vintage in Montalcino. A great balance of red fruits, cocoa and leather on the nose. Lively, precise tannins supported by remarkable body, plushness and a perfectly balanced high alcohol content. Elegant, with perhaps a slightly less persistent finish than expected from an otherwise perfect wine. (95/100)
2004. The problem with this vintage (excellent in some parts of Tuscany) was that at the end they harvested a lot of grapes, says Lamberto. The nose is sweet, it is balanced on the palate, with recurrent hints of leather, red fruit, raspberry and plum. Caressing and balanced. (93/100)
2000. Proceeding with age, Luce maintains its style throughout the different vintages. Here, black truffle, plum and spice prevail. A warm vintage that produced a rich and complex wine. Lingering finish. (90/100)
1995. The oldest of the company, with a colour that is still bright and intact, considering its almost twenty years of age. Walnut, truffle on the nose with tertiary aromas of sealing wax. Lively on the palate, with perfectly-tamed tannins. Oily, Mediterranean, with a pleasant herbaceous overtone. (92/100)