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Falesco Cotarella Merlot Sodale 2015 750ml

Rated 90 - Here is a new wine from the Cotarella family. The 2015 Merlot Sodale aspires to a very specific place in the marketplace: impressive...
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Falesco Montiano Lazio Igt 2015 750ml

Rated 93 - Montiano is and always has been the Cotarella family piece de resistance. The 2015 Montiano (100% Merlot from Lazio) is a deep and...

Italy Lazio Merlot

There are few countries in the world with a viticultural history as long or as illustrious as that claimed by Italy. Grapes were first being grown and cultivated on Italian soil several thousand years ago by the Greeks and the Pheonicians, who named Italy 'Oenotria' – the land of wines – so impressed were they with the climate and the suitability of the soil for wine production. Of course, it was the rise of the Roman Empire which had the most lasting influence on wine production in Italy, and their influence can still be felt today, as much of the riches of the empire came about through their enthusiasm for producing wines and exporting it to neighbouring countries. Since those times, a vast amount of Italian land has remained primarily for vine cultivation, and thousands of wineries can be found throughout the entire length and breadth of this beautiful country, drenched in Mediterranean sunshine and benefiting from the excellent fertile soils found there. Italy remains very much a 'land of wines', and one could not imagine this country, its landscape and culture, without it.

The central Italian wine region of Lazio is widely regarded as one of the oldest wine regions on earth. The origins of the viticulture in this special part of Italy, which includes the capital city of Rome, is shrouded in myth and legend, although it seems likely that the Etruscans were the first people to cultivate the native vines which thrive there. The Romans stepped things up a notch, and wines produced in Roman Lazio were exported across the empire and celebrated for their finesse and character, but upon the collapse of this mighty civilization, Lazio wines almost disappeared forever. The viticultural practises of Lazio weren’t resurrected until the late 19th century, when Italy was unified, and it continues to be an important Old World wines region to this day.

Lazio benefits from a range of microclimates, which are influenced greatly by the proximity to the coast - bringing cooling sea breezes over the vineyards which would otherwise be roasted by the scorching midsummer heat. The mountains in the northeast of the region bring more variety, and as such, an enormous range of wines are produced across Lazio. The main grape varietals there are Nebbiolo and Malvasia di Candia, although red wines made from Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes are certainly on the rise and have been gaining plenty of praise in recent years.

With its dark blue colored fruits and high juice content, Merlot varietal grapes have long been a favorite of wine producers around the globe, with it being found in vineyards across Europe, the Americas and elsewhere in the New World. One of the distinguishing features of Merlot grapes is the fact that they have a relatively low tannin content and an exceptionally soft and fleshy character, meaning they are capable of producing incredibly rounded and mellow wines. This mellowness is balanced with plenty of flavor, however, and has made Merlot grapes the varietal of choice for softening other, more astringent and tannin-heavy wines, often resulting in truly exceptional produce. Merlot is regarded as one of the key 'Bordeaux' varietals for precisely this reason; when combined with the drier Cabernet Sauvignon, it is capable of blending beautifully to produce some of the finest wines available in the world.