Tom's blog

A comfortable home for merlot

It wasn’t that long ago that noble grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay had no place is Tuscany. Young winemakers, however, abandoned the traditions of their forefathers and adopted new grape varieties in a quest to make the best wine with the best grapes. Only then did they get the world’s attention.

“Super Tuscans,” as these blends became known, were the darling of the trade for years. Today, however, they are so accepted that no one remembers a sangiovese that hasn’t been blended with a non-indigenous grape variety.

The one grape that has found a home in super Tuscans is merlot. I suspect that the reason is that merlot’s soft, fruity and forward character blunts the natural acidity of sangiovese.

I am thinking of this as I enjoy the 2015 Tenuta Luce, a full-bodied sangiovese-merlot blend that stands out in a crowd of generic super Tuscans. The wine has a ripe character but serious tannins and acidity give it signs of longevity. It’s a beautiful wine.

Alas, it costs $95, but you can get a hint of its brilliance by trying Lucente, a second wine of this Tuscan estate.