The Cotarella brothers would be quite the formidable pair if one were to compile a list of noteworthy Italian vintners.  Renzo Cotarella is head winemaker for the famed Antinori estates, crafting such wonderful wines as Solaia, Tignanello, and Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva.  His brother Riccardo, consults with dozens of wineries including Lamborghini, Terra di Lavoro, Morgante, and Montevetrano. 
In addition, he and his brother enjoy a venture together, the family winery Falesco, which turns out the incredible 100% pure Merlot, Montiano.   The 2003 Falesco Montiano is a pure, soulful wine born from the Roman Hills.  It’s dark purple in the glass and extremely perfumed.  Lavender, wild flowers, dark berries, and espresso leap from the glass.  The palate is balanced and expressive, loaded with fruit, licorice, and sweet herbs.  Riccardo Cotarella has said:  “When a wine has character, it’s an open book. An experienced taster should easily identify its grape content, its region of production, even its producer.”   I cannot disagree. This wine is distinctly Italian, with its acids, it’s underbrush of earth and herbs, but the fruit flavors are so pure, they remind of new world Merlot, yet it would never be mistaken for that.   This is exactly how Cotarella wants it.  An impressive effort indeed.  About $35. 94 points. 

The 2003 Falesco Montiano – Pure Merlot

With this wine, we served up something a Roman hunter might bring home from a successful trip into the Lazio countryside;  crispy duck breast over faro “risotto”.   This is more of a process then a recipe – it’s just simple seared duck breast, sliced and arranged atop faro that has been cooked in the risotto style. Faro is a type of barley, with a more distinct texture than regular barley used in soups, etc.  Here the Faro is mixed with mushrooms,  cheese, and just a touch of cream.  It was delicious. 

Seared Anatra:  Duck Breast over Faro “Risotto”

Spicy broccolini was also on the side….

Broccolini with garlic, pepperoncino, and extra virgin olive oil

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