Luce, Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany, Italy) 2012

($110, Folio Wine Imports): Luce della Vite, usually referred to as “Luce,” initially was a joint venture of the Mondavi and Frescobaldi families but is now owned solely by Frescobaldi.  A Super Tuscan blend of roughly equal parts Sangiovese and Merlot grown in the Montalcino area, it does not conform to Italian winemaking regulations and therefore carries the IGT designation.  In 2003, Frescobaldi started making a Brunello di Montalcino from the Sangiovese on the Luce property.  (Luce Brunello was, and still is, distinct from Frescobaldi’s other very fine Brunello di Montalcino, Castelgiocando.)  So therein lies the potential for confusion when speaking of Luce.  Are you referring to the short hand of Luce della Vite or the Brunello di Montalcino?  While both are easy to recommend, they are very different wines because the Merlot adds fleshiness to the more austere Sangiovese.  The 2012 Luce Brunello di Montalcino shows why Sangiovese by itself, grown in the right place — Montalcino — is revered.  Floral aromatics give way to an elegant, sleek and racy wine with a dark mineral-infused core.  Tightly wound at this stage, it has incredible energy, like a horse in the starting gate.  Polished — it is a Frescobaldi wine — it should evolve beautifully over the next decade.
95 Michael Apstein May 23, 2017