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Luce Della Vite Luce Toscana 2011
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 flavor is persistent, offering a crescendo finish with a hint of minerals.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
Silky, seductive and polished are the words that characterize the best wines from Margaux, the most inland appellation of the Médoc on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
Margaux’s gravel soils are the thinnest of the Médoc, making them most penetrable by vine roots—some reaching down over 23 feet for water. The best sites are said to be on gentle outcrops, or croupes, where more gravel facilitates good drainage.
The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification but it is nonetheless important in regards to history of the area. In 1855 the finest chateaux were deemed on the basis of reputation and trading price—at that time. In 1855 Chateau Margaux achieved first growth status, yet it has been Chateau Palmer (officially third growth from the 1855 classification) that has consistently outperformed others throughout the 20th century.
Chateau Margaux in top vintages is capable of producing wines described as pure, intense, spell-binding, refined and profound with flavors and aromas of black currant, violets, roses, orange peel, black tea and incense.
Other top producers worthy of noting include Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Lascombes, Brane-Cantenac, and d’Issan, among others.
The best wines of Margaux combine a deep ruby color with a polished structure, concentration and an unrivaled elegance.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.