Falesco Merlot Umbria 2005
Two of Italy’s most acclaimed winemakers, brothers Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella, founded Falesco in 1979. Their philosophy is focused on balancing the uniqueness and tradition of native varietals with the versatility of international grapes. The result is a complete portfolio of wines that consumers and critics alike have recognized as exhibiting extreme value and Best of Class offerings. Falesco winery is located in Umbria’s Montecchio municipality, near Orvieto in the southwestern area that borders the Lazio region. In Lazio, Falesco also maintains a cellar for the vinification of its DOC Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone. The region is bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west and Italy’s mountainous center to the east. The dry, perfectly drained, volcanic terroir offers ideal growing conditions for textured reds and crisp, refreshing whites. The winery’s mission is manifold: to rediscover and promote Italy’s native varietals, to identify terroir areas with the ability to produce high-quality wines, to perform ongoing research and experimentation in winemaking and vineyard management, and to continually improve the quality of all Falesco products. Countless worldwide accolades and the winery’s commercial success attest to the results achieved here.
When asked to name common Italian red grapes, most wine drinkers would probably begin with Sangiovese and continue with various other indigenous varieties. But Merlot (along with several other international varieties) has a significant presence in Italy, with over 60,000 acres planted. Granted, much of this is everyday quaffing wine grown in the northeast by producers taking advantage of the vine’s prolific nature, especially in the Veneto and Friuli.
But through much of the country the wine is grown with more care and used predominantly as a blending agent, thereby adding a certain soft, fleshy appeal to a great many reds. Of course, this practice is often not mentioned on labels. In Tuscany, Merlot appears in a wide variety of blends, as well as sometimes in Chianti Classico. In fact, Italian Merlot reaches its greatest heights in the coastal Tuscan region of Maremma. Here it appears in blends and – spectacularly – in 100% varietal expressions like Masseto, L’Apparita and Messorio. Italian Merlots such as these boast the power, concentration and complexity seen in the finest examples from Bordeaux’s Right Bank.