Today’s wine is “Lucente,” the second label of the “Luce Delle Vite” estate. “Luce” is an expensive, no-holds-barred “super Tuscan,” with grapes grown high atop the famous Montalcino viticultural area. Lucente sources grapes from throughout the region, but is similarly styled and a very Italian expression of the Merlot grape possibilities. (Some of you may be familiar with “Masseto,” the $500 Merlot that turns heads worldwide.) Today’s wine gives you a more frugal hint about why Merlot is a new Italian star.
I had the pleasure of tasting the 2009 vintage of Lucente only weeks before trying today’s new release. For my palate, the extra time in the bottle only helps in achieving the standard that this wine aspires to – yet it already impresses.
2014 Lucente, Toscana IGT $30 srp
Almost black in color. A refined yet dense nose of crushed blackcurrant, blackberry, olive and saddle leather. There is a dark, brooding quality – almost forbidding in its dense forest, smoke and graphite/charcoal elements. (Yet there is also that wistful, “weedy” quality on the nose, so very characteristic of the Merlot grape.) Flavors are medium-bodied, but display a saturated and peppery fruit compote with mocha overlay. Sumptuous stuff, this really makes a statement. Balanced and long on the palate, let this breathe for at least one hour. (75% Merlot, 25% Sangiovese) Drink now-2021.
91/100 points (perhaps higher with bottle age)