2018 Brutocao Quadriga, Mendocino
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
The roots of family run deep with Brutocao Vineyards. From the winged lion on the label that ties them back to their home near Venice in Italy, to the four generations that have since built the vineyards and winery. And in the 2018 Quadriga we see and taste the influence of those deep roots that have been a mainstay of the Mendocino wine scene for over 80 years.
The farmlands around Hopland and Capella in Mendocino attracted immigrants from many parts of the world, including Italy. Early grape growers planted the vines they knew and loved, including Primitivo, Sangiovese and Barbera. Often these vines were intermingled, leading to rich field blends loved by the locals and ripe fruit often sent to be added to wines from Napa and Sonoma county.
The 2018 Quadriga is a throwback to those blends. Estate grown Sangiovese, Primitivo, Barbera, and Dolcetto are combined with just a touch of Syrah. The result is a beautifully balanced blend that tends to be much more elegant than one would expect from this combination. And it's up to 52% off for 48 hrs only at Casemates.com!
The color is a bright ruby, with medium intensity, that shimmers like a jewel in the glass. The initial aroma of blueberries pairs with fresh green herb and pepper spice. Plum and cherry join the mix as the Sangiovese and Barbera show through, and a bit of sweet tobacco and light oak are recognizable in the background. The aroma profile is medium in intensity, and shifts to more red fruit with time in the glass. And while the fruit plays the main role, the counterpoint of spice and sweet herb keeps the profile interesting through the evening.
The initial taste of blue and red fruit turns bright raspberry and red plum in the front of the mouth as the acidity plays its welcome part on the palate. While bright, the acidity doesn’t overpower at a pH of 3.57, and is quickly joined by fine tannin that lends a bit of structure to the round mouthfeel. The tannin shows its 18 months in 90% French Oak and 10% American Oak, with 25% new barrels, adding a nice balance to the wine, that for me, made this feel a bit more elegant as mentioned previously.
The mid palate clears to reveal a finish of sweet red fruit, somewhere between ripe raspberry and early season strawberries, with a savory element that persists a mouth filling close that takes its time.
I couldn’t resist pairing this wine with an Italian meal, and the eggplant in the frig was calling out to be transformed to parmigiana for this tasting. The Quadriga matched up easily with the rich tomato sauce and roasted eggplant. With Barbera, Dolcetto and Sangiovese accounting for over 60% of the blend, the wine’s medium bodied profile is super food friendly. The ABV is 14.4 %, but there’s enough acidity, bright fruit and tannin to keep it all in balance, and not feeling heavy.
This is a great option for meals where you want a balanced, medium bodied red wine with that characteristic Italian varietal acidity, but a bit broader palate that brings in that Primitivo and Syrah dark fruit and spice. Enjoy!