Falesco’s Riccardo Cotarella earned admiration for Montiano, his single-vineyard Merlot, and that imprint of precision is felt in his value wines such as Tellus. Latin for Earth, Tellus serves to reference our place in the world and beyond. Labels for the Tellus line were created during a crowdsourcing contest in 2008. At this event in Rome, painters were paired with passionate wine lovers to translate the crowd’s wine impressions into visual form.
Tellus Merlot is sourced from vineyards in Montecchio, in the heart of Falesco’s estate in Umbria. Soils here are clay and calcareous, with a southeast exposition, sitting at 300 meters above sea level. Aromatics are fully developed with appropriate elevation while soils here produce a richer, deeper Merlot profile.
After an early September harvest, the Merlot is fermented in stainless steel, and then racked into barrique to carry out malolactic fermentation. The wine remains in second passage barrique for six months until bottling.
Italian Merlot is often framed by two primary characteristics: dark fruit aromas (black fruits) and a savory, earthy complexity (herbal, truffle). Tellus Merlot exhibits a rich, plush mouthfeel from the long skin maceration of 18 days, with medium tannic structure enhanced by the use of Nevers barriques.
Merlot is generally soft, ripe and fleshy, with moderate acidity and tannins. These characteristics segue nicely into a range of dishes. Pair with roasted vegetables to balance out the inherent sweetness of beets, carrots, or squash. Merlot capably adds dimension and lift to seafood marked by spice flavors such as blackened fish, and elaborate rice dishes such as jambalaya or paella.