Italian wines are some of the greatest wines in the world, and they still offer some of the best values in the wine market.
In 1995, two of the greatest families in winemaking history, the Italian Frescobaldi family and the American family of Robert Mondavi, collaborated to form the Luce della Vite winery just outside the town of Montalcino in Tuscany. Their goal was to produce world-class Italian wines, and with their recent Lucente 2009 release, a complex yet approachable blend of 75% merlot and 25% sangiovese, they have achieved just that. This wine is the perfect complement to grilled foods this season; think grilled lamb chops or T-bone steaks for pairings.
At a suggested retail price of $30, Lucente isn’t an every night wine, but it does offer great quality and complexity for a special occasion.
The wine itself is an inky purple, with highlights of crimson and violet at the edges. On the nose, aromas of raspberry, cherries, cocoa, oak, and black pepper are evident, with a pencil lead note coming emerging as the wine opens up.
Lucente 2009 was aged in a combination of new American oak and new and used French oak barriques. This combination of different aging vessels seems to have helped create more complexity in the wine. It has a silky, rich mouthfeel with red fruit and cocoa notes on the palate. The finish is long and lingering, with raspberry, chocolate, and coffee continuing to emerge before lifting off of the palate.
As a modern Tuscan blend, Lucente displays just how complex and satisfying the wines of Tuscany can be. While merlot and sangiovese blends are a relatively new to Tuscany (with sangiovese being the heart of Chianti wines and the main red grape of Tuscany), the combination of the two grapes is inspired. The sangiovese contributes good acidity, while the merlot adds tannins and structure to create a wine that is far more than the sum of its parts.
Overall, Lucente 2009 is an excellent introduction to high quality Tuscan wines. It makes a great choice to pair with grilled meats this year. Aging will continue to improve this wine although it is ready to drink now. At $30, Lucente 2009 is an excellent choice for your next special occasion meal.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Luce della Vite for review. No other compensation from Luce della Vite was received.