Lamberto Frescobaldi was in New York last week to talk about what he thinks of as his wines—Luce, Lucente, and Luce Brunello di Montalcino—and the new winery he has built just for them. He believes the combination of the wines, and the team that will look after them, are forging a shining future.
Frescobaldi bought a 136-acre (55-hectare) property in Tuscany’s Montalcino, with 27 acres planted with vineyards, for $12.94 million (11.5 million euros) and has devoted it exclusively to the three wines that are among his most valuable brands. He said he was not looking to increase production, but quality.
“The business advantage is that you are able to be even more precise in checking details,” he told Wine Enthusiast. “Wine is quality and for quality you to have to pay attention to the details…We never look at the budget before we produce the wine,” Frescobaldi insisted. “We make the wine, and then we look at how much we have. It’s a quality driven product.”
He also sought out a new winemaking team dedicated to the wine trio. Stefano Ruini, who spent more than 20 years working for several châteaux in the Medoc region, will be the technical director and enologist. “From his experience, Stefano deeply understands how important it is for a wine to be connected with the terroir. We believe he will push the quality of Luce even higher,” Frescobaldi said.
Luce, which began as a joint venture between Frescobaldi and Mondavi, has been around for more than 20 years. Sales have steadily grown year after year, Frescobaldi said. The new winery and cellaring facility isn’t a simple refresh of the brand, he insisted, but “will allow us to continue to devote special attention to Luce, from choosing the grapes to the aging in carefully selected barrels, which is what characterizes this wine and makes it so unique.”
Next to the wine cellar is a Tuscan farmhouse, which will become the estate’s hospitality center and tasting room. The new winery will officially open in November, after the harvest.
Meanwhile Frescobaldi, who has been president of his family’s empire for the past four years, sees a very competitive but also a very bright future for wine in general. “It will take some time. I think it will take longer than we expect,” he said. He expects Russia to develop a stronger market for wine sooner than China.
“In Russia, people are getting much more wealthy. I would say Russians are much more similar to us (Western Europeans) from a cultural point of view and been exposed over time to the beauty of Paris, of Rome,” Frescobaldi said. “But I make wine, and so I think there is great opportunity in every place in the world.”