Meeting the winemaker

Pike and Western held a tasting last night to sample the wines created by Ricardo Cotarella, the Italian winemaker behind Falesco, who helped lead a revolution in Italian viniculture by convincing grape growers to experiment with new grapes such as Merlot and improve old grapes like the Sicilian Nero d’Avola. Over the course of the evening (and seven wines from Sicily, Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany), we learned quite a lot about the industry, such as the importance of decreasing plant yield to provide intense flavor.

Afterwards Lisa asked Cotarella if he had consulted at any Campagnian vineyards. “Yes, several,” he said. “Feudi…”

“Mastroberardino?” Lisa asked.

“No, no,” he replied, and held his hands apart palm up. “If you consult for Feudi, is no longer possible to work for Mastroberardino.” (The two winemakers split in a family feud about ten years ago.)

He told us that his favorite Campagnian varietal was probably Greco di Tufo. Lisa challenged him, asking about Fiano di Avellino, but he said he preferred Greco because while Fiano might be mistaken for other indigenous white wines such as Falenghina, Greco always was clearly Greco.