Piero Selvaggio, restaurateur (Valentino, Primi, Posto)
1994 Falesco "Montiano" (Lazio) $25.
I have followed the progress of the dynamic and talented winemaker Riccardo Cotarella in Umbria and Lazio--regions not nearly as famous as Piedmont or Tuscany--with interest. One of his wines that I'm drinking now is a Merlot blended with 20% Cabernet called Montiano from Falesco. Merlot grown on the slopes of the Lazio region north of Rome reaches an excellent level of ripeness, giving wines of elegance and balance. The color of the 1994 Montiano is a deep purple. On the nose it is spicy, smoky, with scent of cassis. The finish is rich and warm. It's a wine that complements grilled meat dishes, game birds and pasta sauced with a rich ragu.