Luce is a singular and irresistible expression of Montalcino, a Super Tuscan with an exotic side, and above all full of pleasure. The spectacular estate’s diversity of soils, expositions and biodiversity of olive groves and forests come together in a wine as vibrant and exciting as the landscape.
From the beginning, Luce was a bold proposition. The iconic estate located in the hills of southwest Montalcino was originally identified as a great area by the Marchese Vittorio Frescobaldi in the 1960s, and later launched as the Luce partnership between the Marchese and California wine legend Robert Mondavi. The wine was first produced from an outstanding Sangiovese vineyard along with a surprising experimental planting of Merlot from the 1960s done by a French company based in Bordeaux. Combining the roundness and softness of Merlot with the structure and elegance of Sangiovese might seem an obvious idea today, especially after the last 20 years of Super Tuscan history, but this was a first in Montalcino. That blending approach is still followed today, and what is so attractive about the result is, in fact, the character of Montalcino that shines through: the dark fruit, power and structure, the complexity of floral and spice notes, the chewiness of the tannin.
The estate’s iconic name and packaging (Luce translates to “light” in Italian) was inspired by the altar at the Santo Spirito church in Florence – a landmark church built on land donated by the Frescobaldi family during the Renaissance.
The Luce estate covers 615 acres, 217 of which are planted with Sangiovese and Merlot. The estate is in the southwest of Montalcino, at one of the highest elevation points, and south/southwest facing; the freshness and structure that result play in tension with the deep, perfectly ripe fruit. Higher elevation planting have sandstone and limestone, and are ideal for Sangiovese. Clay in the lower altitude vineyards is perfect for the powerful expression of Merlot.
The Merlot and Sangiovese grapes are harvested and fermented separately in multiple harvests, with rigorous fruit selection during picking and meticulous hand sorting. Fermentation is spontaneous with no added yeasts. Blending takes place immediately after fermentation and maceration and prior to barrel aging.
Aging takes place exclusively in French oak in order to develop the wine’s potential and achieve a perfect balance of flavors while respecting and reflecting the characteristics of the vintage.
The months of January and February were particularly mild and dry. This condition led to an early budding of the vines starting from the second week of March for Sangiovese and from the third week for Merlot. Spring then saw warm weather with rainfall mainly in May, favoring the course of an excellent flowering that took place slightly earlier, around the last week of the month, followed by rapid fruit set. The first three weeks of June were affected by the presence of rainfall, which helped prepare the plants for the summer season, which was hot with few rains. In the last week of August, two very important rains brought relief to the plants and lowered temperatures, creating ideal conditions to complete the ripening of the grapes.
Harvesting began for Merlot on the 3rd of September; the grapes were in excellent health and ripeness, with great aromatic potential, due in part to the temperature swings between night and day that had occurred in the days before the harvest. While for Sangiovese harvest began on September 16 and continued until the end of the month
Intense ruby red in color, Luce 2020 stands out on the nose for its complexity and elegance, characterized by ripe black fruits, particularly blackberry and mulberry, which are joined by hints of cocoa and sweet spices. On the palate it is harmonious, lively, with excellent structure, balanced by vibrant acidity and soft, silky tannins that give an elegant finish with great persistence.
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Decanter - October 6, 2023
"The nose is dense and powerful, exhibiting lush black fruits and chocolate, and it became more perfumed with aeration. The attack is zesty and vigorous, spicy and assertive, but there's no excessive extraction and the tannins are polished. Despite a hint of tar and liquorice, the black fruits dominate. Well balanced, with both grip and texture, and a very long finish, this will age well."- S.B.
Wine Spectator - October 10, 2023
"Well-marked by vanilla from the new oak, this also features flavors of black currant, blackberry, flowers and iron. Racy even, with vibrant acidity and a line of dusty tannins lingering on the finish. Comes together with air. Sangiovese and Merlot."-B.S 10/23
More on Luce 2020
May 27, 2020 - Due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lock-down measures in Italy cancelling the Prowein and Vinitaly events, producers flocked to social media platforms to release their latest wines. Decanter's Aldo Fiordelli…
Other Wines by this Producer
Lucente is the second wine of Luce, a wine with contemporary style, immediate and great pleasure, and like its elder sibling, an authentic interpretation of Montalcino and the Luce estate.
Luce Brunello is the winery’s tribute to Montalcino and the wine that emerged there in the second half of the 19th century to become one of Italy’s crowning jewels in wine production. It is produced in a very small quantity to showcase the unique character of a pure Sangiovese from the Luce estate vineyards and pay tribute to the winemaking tradition of Montalcino.