Famiglia Cotarella, “Sodale” Merlot Lazio 2015 (about $21)

 

Italian Wine for april, 2018

Brothers Riccardo and Renzo Cotarella founded the Falesco winery in 1979 in the small town of Montefiascone, a few miles north of Viterbo in the Lazio region. Riccardo and Renzo are highly respected winemakers and the wines of Falesco quickly gained favor for both their quality and value with consumers and wine critics alike.

While the Falesco winery produces white as well as red wines, its reputation rests primarily on its high-quality red wines like the powerful Montiano as well as some excellent value wines such as the popular Vitiano.

In 1999, Falesco grew through the acquisition of property in the town of Montecchio, a short distance south of Orvieto in nearby Umbria. Here they built a new, modern winery with an expansive cellar while planting numerous red and white varieties in the surrounding 248 acres of vineyards.

In 2015, the daughters of Riccardo and Renzo - Dominga, Marta and Enrica - assumed overall responsibilities for the winery. To reflect this hand-over to the next generation, the Falesco logo was redesigned and the official name of the winery changed from Falesco to “Famiglia Cotarella” (Cotarella family).

Famiglia Cotarella produces several pure Merlot bottlings at different price points, all of which are engaging and delicious and the Sodale is no exception. The 2015 Sodale is made entirely of Merlot grapes from the estate’s Lazio vineyards that are vinified in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks and aged for 9 months in French oak barriques. The wine spends another 10 months ageing in the bottle prior to release.

2015 was an excellent vintage in Lazio and central Italy in general and 2015 Cotarella Merlot Lazioa delight for producers following as it did on the heels of the difficult 2014 vintage. Unlike the cool and wet 2014, the 2015 growing season was warm with sunny skies and plenty of heat and cool night-time temperatures that helped keep the Merlot grapes balanced with good color, optimum fruit and good acidity.

The 2015 Sodale has a deep purple color and a gentle swishing of the glass reveals elegant black fruit, cassis and sweet spice aromas. And with lots of seductive blueberry and black cherry flavors the taste certainly doesn’t disappoint. Ripe acidity and abundant but smooth tannins add vibrancy and structure that nicely balance the rich, lush fruit flavors of the Merlot. The finish is rich and generous and will keep you coming back for more.

This Merlot really struts its stuff and is hard to beat on a quality-to-price basis. Pair with a pasta with slow-cooked Bolognese sauce, beef stew or any red meat from the grill.

©Richard Marcis
April 8, 2018

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