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Luxury Tuscans lead to greater contemplation

WINE has variously been considered a luxury product, but in the prosperous regions of Italy, luxury is very much a way of life.

This cannot be truer for Alberto Moretti, owner of Tuscany's Tenuta Sette Ponti. His family purchased the beautiful Sette Ponti estate, named for the number of bridges that cross the river Amo between Arezzo and the capital, Florence, from the royal family in the 1950s. One of the bridges, the Buriano, built in the 14th century, can be seen in the background of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "Mona Lisa."

Moretti, who recently visited Shanghai for a dinner matched with his wines, remains heavily involved in the luxury world. His driving shoe brand Car Shoe, which he purchased from cobbler Gianni Mostille and was a forerunner to Tod's iconic version of similar style, sold 51 percent of its stake to fashion behemoth Prada.

His wines also underline a determination not to do anything half-heartedly. "I started to do high-quality wine for fun; it was a personal challenge at first," he said through an interpreter. "Some people have a passion for sport, I have a passion for wine."

His Super Tuscans, distributed locally by Torres China, are remarkably complex yet still suitably elegant. Unlike the blockbuster style aficionados have come to expect from the category, these drops are deep, introspective wines with well-integrated tannins a common thread between them.

The pick of the bunch was the 2005 Oreno, a blend of 40 percent merlot, 40 percent cabernet sauvignon and 20 percent Sangiovese. It leads with a floral nose with hints of red fruit; wonderfully approachable even in its youth, the savory, gamey characters were bathed in a crisp, fresh acidity that will hold the ripe fruit together as it ages.

The long, lingering aftertaste was perfect for contemplation into the finer things in life.


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