When it comes to red wine from Tuscany the first thing that springs to mind is Sangiovese. That Italian grape is responsible for some of the world’s very best wines. For a number of years now international varietals have of course also made a foothold there. Today I’ll look at a blend that combines the local and the international; most often these are referred to as Super Tuscans. The Luce della Vite 2007 Lucente was produced using grapes sourced in the Montalcino section of Tuscany. This blend is made up of Merlot (50%), Sangiovese (35%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%). Fermentation took place in stainless steel. Barrel aging was accomplished over 12 months in a combination of French and American oak; 60% of the barrels were new. 213,000 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $29.99.
Violets, dark cherry and thyme scents all emerge in the nose of this wine. Those aromas are a bit reticent at first but really come into their own as the wine opens up. So too with the palate, and about an hour in the decanter is heartily recommended to get the most from this offering. There is an absolute avalanche of dried fruit flavors present throughout the palate; both red and black reference point are included. Black pepper spice plays a role here as well and leads to the finish which shows off a terrific amount of prominent earth as well as lesser forceful espresso characteristics. Dusty cocoa notes close things out with a final flourish. This wine has excellent acidity and firm but yielding tannins.
This is a case of the Super Tuscan model working very well. The international varieties play a vital role, but never overshadow the Sangiovese, which is at the core of this wine even though it’s only 35% of the blend. At the end of the day this is a interesting wine that is both stylish and elegant in approach and overall mouth-feel. Pair this with any number of classic Italian dishes for a terrific match. Available in the mid $20’s if you shop around, this is a solid value.