The Cotarella brothers know a little bit about making wine. One is the lead winemaker for Antinori and chiefly oversees the creation of wines like Tignanello, Solaia and Guado al Tasso. The other is one of the most sought after consultants in Italy and has had input on Tre Bicchieri wines from Piedmont to Sicily and all points between. It should therefore come as no surprise that their family winery, for which they both collaborate, routinely produces one of the best wines in Lazio.
The Falesco winery was founded in 1979 and the brothers wanted the cellars and the vineyards to be perfect before they started producing wines under their own label. So they waited until the time was right. That discerning measure of time? 10 years! It wasn’t until 1989 that the winery’s first release, a white called Est! Est! Est! was brought to market. It was another 4 years before the winery’s flagship would be released.
Falesco is now approaching its 40th anniversary and today, the daughters of Renzo and Riccardo are playing a more prominent role in the winery operations as the third generation takes shape. Daughters Dominga, Marta and Enrica, are now driving the family’s three pronged philosophy: Territory, Science, and Dynamism. From optimal vineyard management, advanced scientific experimentation and innovation believed to be the keys in revitalizing Lazio’s ancient wine culture, to the dynamic attention paid to the Italian and International markets, the Cotarella’s are well poised to usher in the winery’s next decade of achievement.
Yet frankly, it’s hard to imagine the future of this winery any brighter than it already is. The winery’s flagship, Montiano is a perennial Tre Bicchieri winner, having received the coveted award in every vintage going back to 2oo5. Today, we’re looking at one of the latest in that streak, the 2011.
The 2011 Falesco Montiano is 100% Merlot sourced from hillside vineyards in the province of Lazio. After vinification in stainless steel vats, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in French oak barriques where it ages for up to 12 months. 6 to 12 months bottle age follows before the wine is released.
The 2011 is a deep garnet ruby with purple reflections in the glass. The aromas open wonderfully and feature black plums, fennel, mint and warm stones. On the palate is where Montiano struts its appeal. Smooth, suave, velvety black cherries dominate the core of flavors which are accented by peppermint, sweet tobacco, toasty spice and turned earth. The balance between fruit, acids and tannins is seamless and so well woven that the wine appears to be devoid of tannins completely. However, the structure is there. This is so silky and delicious now, but will easily last 10 years in your cellar. It may even flesh out more. Montiano is a must buy for me in each vintage and this is no exception. 94 points and a very nice value around $35-$40. Shop around.
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