Last week I was invited to participate in a celebration of the presentation of “Pausa di Luce.” I must admit, though I speak some Italian, I was perplexed. Curious, I went to be educated. This would be a wine tasting of a delicious upscale wine from Montalcino, Tuscany with which I was not familiar. I adore Tuscan wines. They remind me of the fabulous experiences I’ve had touring that wonderful region of Italy. I wondered if I would like this wine, a combination of Sangiovese and Merlot a recent addition to the wine-making scene in Tuscany. What I discovered was novel. Luce was the first wine in Montalcino produced with Sangiovese and Merlot grapes.
In 1995 in collaboration with the Robert Mondavi company, the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi company which oversees its estate Luce della Vite created and produced wines from Montalcino, Tuscany. After the collaboration with Mondavi ended, Lamberto Frescobaldi continued his passion creating Luce wine, and in 2009 reached a turning point. He considered: what better way to express the elegant style of his wonderful wine Luce, than to represent it with Italian-produced, hand-crafted creations? From then on Frescobaldi partnered with different companies to create limited edition pieces which reflected and symbolized aspects of the wine, Luce, that he so enjoyed producing.
This year the wine estate Luce della Vite which produces Luce partnered with renown Poltrona Frau, a leader in the finest Italian-made hand-crafted furniture. Together in their joint project, they conceptualized, “Pausa di Luce.” What is “Pausa di Luce?” It is Poltrona Frau’s creation, an armchair to celebrate the exclusive and elegant style of this grand wine of the “Casa di Luce.”
The theme is laid back excellence, something rather far flung in this modern time of digital hyperspeed and modulated rat-race living. Italians are known for their ability to take the time to relax, to appreciate, to rest, to contemplate. Rest is vital for renewal and rejuvenation. Luce is a wine that needs time to peak in its brightness, full bodied flavor and supple mouth taste. There is a required period of resting and readying the wine, making it imminently flavorful. With its supple, comfortable armchair, Poltrona Frau conceptualized relaxation and comfort, hand-crafted, Italian-style to embody the finest elements of Luce since it is a wine to enjoy, savor, relax with.
It is fitting that The “Pausa di Luce” is a special edition armchair which heralds back to the armchair handcrafted for the company by artisan Renzo Frau in 1919. Naturally, master craftsmen-artisans have designed a resting area where you may put your wine glass, sip, relax, settle back and enjoy. And ladies, relaxation isn’t just for men any more. You, especially, should be able to “pausa,” sip this luscious wine and indulge yourself to contemplate your next endeavor. I understand why the winemaker is proud to brand his product with beautifully designed and hand-crafted Italian made products, this year collaborating with Poltrona Frau. There is nothing that beats relaxed style and elegance. No uncomfortable stiffness here.
However, when I discussed the concepts further with Luce della Vite’s North American Director, Alessandro Lundardi, I understood something deeper: the need for conservation, for preserving the ancient, healthful ways, for not allowing the beneficial elements to be overtaken and destroyed by the new blighted ones. For example, the region of the vineyards of the estate is southwest of Montalcino. However, that entire region is in many ways still a relatively wild landscape; the Italians have established a respectful relationship with nature preserving it from excess building and land speculation. Its landscape is so exceptional that in 2004 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Montalcino is an ancient village on a hilltop, and the earth is rich, the climate yields outstanding wines created over the centuries, carrying through the tradition back hundreds of years for Tuscan wine-making, one of the key cornerstones being sustainability, no intrusion with chemicals, organic principles and intervention only if a vineyard needs to be made whole again.
Now, what about the wine, Luce? The 2009 vintage is beginning to peak and is delicious. It was served with various savory canapes. However, I can imagine it with sharper cheeses and with stronger red meats with which it will hold up well and bring out the piquant flavors. You can buy Luce and the Tuscan wines from Luce della Vite HERE.
The “Pausa di Luce” armchair is available only on request in a select number of Poltrona Frau showrooms in Italy (Milan and Rome), Asia (Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai), and the US (New York, Miami and San Francisco).