Tenuta Luce, the Montalcino-based wine estate which sits within the Frescobaldi family of wines, has revealed plans to increase its focus on the UK market in 2019.

In 2018 the company invested in a new winery and dedicated oenologist in order to give Luce some individual focus outside of the other Frescobaldi-owned wine estates. In addition, Luce also changed its British importer to Waddeston Wines, which it said is part of its strategy of separating worldwide distribution from the other Frescobaldi estates, and with the aim of working with more specialised importers for its top range wines.

Michele Drusian, sales manager of Tenuta Luce, told DRN: “Waddeston Wines is part of the Rothschild Foundation and is specialised in the distribution of high profile Bordeaux wines. It has a network of trade clients and private collectors perfectly matching with Luce’s positioning. We are aiming to continue establishing Luce on the British market and especially in London, which offers one of the worldwide most important windows on the world of wine. We believe Luce still has great potential in the UK. We can follow this very well also at the Frescobaldi Restaurant in London where Luce is one of the best sellers. Our aim is to grow in terms of notoriety and presence in the high-level trade.”

The producer’s top tier wine, Lux Vitis, will be officially launched into the UK for the first time next year. The wine is described as being “a distinctive interpretation of the same terroir of Luce in Montalcino” and it is born from a small vineyard planted in 2014, which has limited production. In 2019 the new vintage (2016) of Lux Vitis will be released on the British market, with approximately 180 bottles available for the UK.

Drusian noted that while Lux Vitis is positioned higher than other wines in the portfolio because of its rarity, Luce remains the company’s “iconic and most representative wine”.

He added: “The important issue to communicate is that Luce is a unique interpretation of Montalcino’s terroir, unique because it is a 50:50 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot in a territory known mainly for Brunello (100% Sangiovese), with a very distinctive style. It is a perfect balance between the elegance and the beauty of Sangiovese and the roundness and power of Merlot. “

Earlier this year Luce recruited a new oenologist and technical director, Stefani Ruini, who has a degree in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Piacenza; he previously spent 20 years in the Medoc in Bordeaux.

Ruini told DRN: “Luce is situated in one of the warmest parts of Montalcino and unlike other areas we have no humidity or fog here. The vineyards are 150m above sea level and they have a big diurnal range, so in the summer the temperature can get over 30 degrees C but this can drop to 15 degrees at night. We rarely have bad vintages in Montalcino; parts of Italy have had problems from the weather but we are in a strategic position. We are also experimenting with biodynamic and all of the wines are organic.

 “It is very exciting because compared to wines from Bordeaux our wines are approachable in their youth but they also have ageing potential. You can one of our 2015 vintages now or you can leave it to age for 10 to 15 years, but a 2015 Paulliac now? Forget it.”

The producer has a range of wines available for the UK market including Luce, the first wine produced in Montalcino from both Sangiovese and Merlot grapes; Lucente, the second wine in the portfolio, which is also made from Sangiovese and Merlot; Luce Brunello, which is made from Sangiovese grapes from five of the 249 Luce Estate hectares which are registered for Brunello di Montalcino; and Lux Vitis, which is made from grapes from a small vineyard on the estate planted in 2004.

This year the producer also opened a new winery, which is located underground and integrated into the surrounding environment. The winery also houses a custom-built cellar, which was designed to store all of the Luce and Luce Brunello vintages. The new facility also has a typical Tuscan colonial-style house with accompanying garden, which completes the winery.