Cotarella, Riccardo

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Cotarella, Riccardo (1948–), one of Italy’s most famous consultant oenologists, based in Umbria. Born in Orvieto, he graduated from the winemaking school in Conegliano in 1968 and started working for the Vaselli winery in Orvieto. Together with his brother Renzo (who is general manager for antinori), he founded the Falesco winery at Montefiascone in 1979 with the aim of producing modern white wines to sell to the large bottlers. As the market for Italian wines began to change, Cotarella began to bottle his own wines. He leapt to prominence, however, with red wines from Umbria and Lazio based primarily on Merlot. Falesco’s Montiano, first produced in 1993, became one of Italy’s best known examples of this variety. His fame as a consultant was cemented when the 1993 Montevetrano, a red wine from Salerno in Campania, was released. He now consults to wineries as diverse as Morgante in Sicily, Paola di Mauro in Lazio, Nottola and Castello di Volpaia in Tuscany, Terra di Lavoro in Campania, and La Carraia, Lamborghini, and Sportoletti in Umbria. In 1999 Cotarella and his brother acquired the Marciliano estate in Umbria. His wines are characterized by deep colour, richness, ripe fruit, low acid, and immense appeal. While his critics claim that he has been responsible for producing a more international style of wine, he and his brother can lay claim to having saved the indigenous white Roscetto or Rossetto vine from extinction, of which a complex barrel-aged version is produced, while also turning their attention to aleatico, of which they produce a sweet version. There is no doubt that he has improved quality in and focused a great deal of attention on previously little-known areas (not unlike Michel rolland). In 2013 he was elected the president of Assoenologi, the Italian association of oenologists.