Quadrio. Nino Negri Quadrio. Or Nino Negri Quadrio Valtellina Superiore. However you choose to identify it, this one is special. Just a week ago the Fredrick Wildman rep was here tasting me on a few from his massive portfolio when I asked, "What's the best bang for your buck in your book?" I expected nothing. After all, these guys are paid to sell what they are paid to sell. To my surprise he said, "Quadrio."
He went on to say the wine was a Nebbiolo-based red sourced from the slopes of the Alps in Lombardy of north central Italy. He also said it shared much of the same character of similar wines from the nearby Piedmont region, the finest wine region of Italy.
The Nino Negri estate in Valtellina, Lombardy, Italy was established in 1897. Prior to that establishment, the property was called Castello Quadrio di Chiura after a fifteenth century castle there. Hence the current name, Quadrio. The old castle now houses the company and the winery.
Lombardy has a thousand year history with the Nebbiolo grape, reason enough to expect quality there. Nino Negri has four hundred acres under their control and a star winemaker in Casimiro Maule, the Gambero Rosso 2007 Italian Winemaker of the Year.
DOCG reds from Lombardy must be 90% Nebbiolo by law. Quadrio is not a DOCG wine yet maintains that 90%. If it were a DOCG you could bet its moderate price would be a several dollars higher.
Quadrio spends twenty months in Slavonian oak, then four months in the bottle before it is released. It exhibits a nose of dark berry fruit and baking spice with licorice and mint. On the palate it shows the same flavors sheathed in a smooth and savory body with fine grippy tannins leading to a long dry finish. The licorice and berry flavors linger to the very end.