Small But Sullen Horn

Then the lucciola, the fire-fly of Tuscany, was seen to flash its sudden sparks among the foliage, while the cicala, with its shrill note became more clamorous then even during the noon-day heat, loving best the hour when the English beetle, with less offensive sound, winds his small but sullen horn.

The Mysteries of Udolpho, Anne Radcliffe

Lucciolaio is a super-Tuscan from mid-level Chianti producer Torraccia di Presura. Fermented in steel, given 18 months in French oak, and with a healthy 20% dose of Cabernet Sauvignon to complement the Sangiovese.

It's poshly expressive, without being any sort of fruit bomb. Heavyweight when compared to Chianti, it still offers the full range of Tuscan delights. There's a very fine dark floral note on the nose, along with something mushroomy or earthy or undergrowthy.

The palate is dry, full and still quite tannic (which isn't really surprising; the producers suggest it will age 15 to 20 years). It tastes rich and lovely, with clear cut cherry fruit, and a mineral note which - I don't know why - reminds me specifically of obsidian.

When I manage at last to lift my nose from the glass I can see that tonight's tasting group are enjoying this one much more than the too-young Barolo. The flashing of the firefly has truly entranced them all.

A tannic, rich, and lovely 4++, Lucciolaio is one of the brighter stars in the Sangioverse.

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