Luce Della Vite Luce Toscana 2010
Other Red Blends from Tuscany, Italy
Spring 2010 was marked by frequent rainstorms, which made life difficult for the viticulturalists with regard to vineyard operations and anti-fungal efforts, but the rain also had the benefit of building up groundwater reserves. The summer months experienced a rather even alternation of decent rains and sunny days. September brought ideal conditions, with cool nights and warm, sunny days right through to the end of the harvest. The upshot was that the vines performed splendidly, and the fruit arrived in the cellar with optimal ripeness levels.
Grape Varieties: Sangiovese 45%, Merlot 55%
The color is a very concentrated purple-red. Wild berry fruit, such as blueberry, blackberry and black currant, is prominent on the nose, accompanied by spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg as well as traces of mint. Complex nuances of roasted mocha, fresh almonds and vanilla linger in the background. On the palate, the entry is soft and enticing, with an acidity that blends into the wine's great structure and silky tannins. The flavour is persistent, offering a crescendo finish with a hint of minerals.
James Suckling - "This is clearly the greatest Luce ever. A wine with currants and blueberries with hints of flowers and spices. A full bodied red with with lots of chocolate, berry and vanilla character. Chewy. Juicy. Better in 2015 to soften and come together. Fabulous blend of 45% sangiovese and 55% merlot."
Wine Spectator - "The floral, violet, black cherry, earth and spice aromas and flavors are very pure here. Focused and elegant, yet forceful, balanced and long, this shows a touch of mint in the aftertaste.—Non-blind Luce vertical (March 2013). Best from 2018 through 2040. 1,500 cases imported."
Luce Della Vite Winery
In 1995, Robert Mondavi of California and Vittorio Frescobaldi of Tuscany joined hands to create an Italian wine of extraordinary quality. Their partnership was the first of its kind in Italy, and their premier offering was Luce della Vite. The name means light of the vine in Italian, and was inspired by the morning sunlight on the way from Florence to the renowned winemaking region of Montalcino.
Aptly named, Luce shines brightly as the very first blend of Sangiovese and Merlot from this highly-regarded Tuscan winemaking region. Montalcino lies approximately 20 miles south of Siena, and is considered the birthplace of the richest and most intense Tuscan wines. The Luce vineyard—adjacent to Marchesi de' Frescobaldi's Castel Giocondo estate—sits at elevations of 1300 to 1500 feet, the highest vineyard site in Montalcino. Sustainable agriculture honors the unique slate and rocky limestone soils, yielding elegant Sangiovese and round, supple Merlot.
Luce inspired a second label, Lucente, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot sourced throughout Tuscany. A third label, Danzante, produces Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese/Chianti, and Merlot sourced throughout other important Italian wine regions. View all Luce Della Vite Wines
About TuscanyView a map of Tuscany wineries (TUSS-can-ee) Sangiovese. Most of the wine coming from Tuscany is made from some clone of this varietal, but a growing trend, started by the renegade winemakers of those Super Tuscans, is to incorporate more international varietals.
Notable FactsThe most well known sub-districts of Tuscany are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (note that Montepulciano here refers to the local village, not the grape variety found in the Italian region of Abruzzi). Wine labeled from these regions is DOC-regulated and Sangiovese-based blends. Quality wine from these DOC areas has been on the rise for decades, with top-notch winemakers and wineries shedding the low-quality image once held for Tuscan wine by producing consistently outstanding bottlings that range from deliciously drinkable to highly ageable. Newer to the scene are regions like Bohlgeri and the Maremma, home to of what are now termed "Super-Tuscans," named for the wine coming from the Tuscany area, but not following all of the DOC or DOCG laws required in Italy. In the 1970's, some pioneer winemakers began buying land outside of Chianti and Montalcino, and planting not only Sangiovese, but also international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine they produced only fit into the lowest Italian category of "vina da tavola," but the winemakers sold the wine for high prices, creating an almost cult following, and spurning a new wine category called IGT.
A little ditty about Italy...This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
For regions, the most popular are Tuscany (home of Chianti), Piedmont and the Tre-Venezie, which includes Veneto, Trentino Alto-Adige and Friuli. Other communes of note are in Southern Italy, and a few good wines are made elsewhere in the country. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily are members of the Italian winemaking community as well.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.