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Straw yellow in color, the 1999 Falesco Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone exhibits an ample nose of ripe fruit: pears, peaches and spring flowers rise in the glass. On the palate the wine exhibits soft flavors of pear and melon, followed by fresh lemony mineral tones that follow through to a long, lingering finish. Vibrant and fresh, exuberant and deliciously dry, Riccardo Cotarella's Est! Est!! Est!!! is pure simple elegance, as well as a refreshment. In essence, this Est! Est!! Est!!! captures all of the very highest qualities of white wines from Italy: eminent drinkability and a blithe spirit. Kudos to Riccardo Cotarella for such a charming and pleasurable wine. Serve this wine moderately chilled during the next year or so, and enjoy!
Senor Cotarella suggests serving his Est! Est!! Est!!! with pasta tossed with Pecorino cheese and basil. We second the motion. In addition, we ask you to consider this Falesco with light tomato sauces or marinara. We have been more than pleased with this wine in the company of a baked ziti with strips of roasted chicken or a fine eggplant rollatini with plenty of cheese. However, after having extolled the virtues of Falesco's Est! Est!! Est!!! with various pastas, we beg of you not to dismiss this wine with a good piece of fresh fish. Trout, flounder and other white fish make nice back drops to the simple elegance and pure flavors in the Falesco. Surprisingly, Cioppino, the spicy Italian fish stew equivalent to Bouillabaisse also makes a nice complement; the soft refreshing qualities of the Est! Est!! Est!!! sharpen and focus, standing up to the rich tomato broth, while accentuating the natural flavors of the seafood. Yum!
In the cradle of the world's greatest empire, located a mere fifty miles from Rome itself, lies Falesco. Falesco was established in 1979 by Riccardo Cotarella with the principal aim of rediscovering, reviving and enhancing the value of Lazio's traditional varietals. (Lazio or Latium is the region of Rome, the birthplace of the Roman Empire). Two decades later it is impossible to list the accolades bestowed upon Riccardo Cotarella. Without a doubt he is one of Italy's finest winemakers and most talented eonologists. Cotarella's Falesco Vineyards are situated in the most prestigious areas around the Lazian-Umbrian border, including parcels in the legendary town of Montefiasone. The vineyards are tended with great care and the pruning is severe, as is the selection of mature fruit, in order to insure exceptional wines. Immediately after harvest the grapes are brought to Falesco where the most advanced technology is employed by Cotarella to achieve the optimum vinification, and the results have been exceptional. Falesco produces a wide variety of wines including several excellent Est! Est!! Est!!! Made from the three traditional grapes of Montefiascone: Trebbiano, Malvasia and Roscetto, this estate's Est! Est!! Est!!! is the reference point for this DOC wine. Acclaimed wine critic, Robert M. Parker Jr. has stated in reference to a Cotarella Est! Est!! Est!!!, "It is the finest wine I have ever tasted from this appellation." Another traditional white, Grechetto, also reaches its apogee at this estate, due to a brutal selection of fruit and ageing in Allier (French oak) barrels. Several very fine red wines also grace the list of Cotarella's successes, most notably Vitiano, a blend of equal parts Merlot, Cabernet and Sangiovese, and a very fine Bordeaux-style Merlot from Umbria. Both wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, reflecting both the cleanliness and the minimal manipulation practiced at Falesco.
The Legend of Est! Est!! Est!!! Legend has it that in 1107, under the order of Holy Roman Emperor, Henry V, the German Bishop, Johannes-Dufuk, was sent to Rome. He was journeying there to visit the Pope in hope of being elevated to Cardinal. Being fond of fine wine and the good things in life, he sent his manservant ahead to find suitable lodging and the best wines along the way. The servant was instructed to mark "Est" ("It is " in Latin) on the walls of the inns where the food and wine were particularly delicious. In the town of Montefiascone, the servant was so impressed by the wines that one "Est" simply was not sufficient to express the quality, and so he wrote, "Est! Est!! Est!!!". When the Bishop arrived, he agreed so heartedly with the manservant that he never left Montefiascone (northern Lazio), and ultimately imbibed until his death, never reaching Rome or the Pope or achieving Cardinal. On the tomb where the Bishop is said to be buried reads an inscription: "Est, Est, Est et propter nimium est, dominus neus, mortuus est!" which translates, "it is, it is, it is, and because too much it is, my master dead is!" For centuries the wines of Montefiasone enjoyed great popularity and considerable renown, due in no small part to the legend and the wines' seductive charm, but sadly the quality and perception of Est! Est!! Est!!! plummeted at the end of the 19th century with the advent of the phylloxera scourge. Est! Est!! Est!!! is only now recovering its legendary status through the concerted effort of Riccardo Cotarella and several other foresighted, quality producers in Montefiascone, so we invite you to partake of the legend, Part II.
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