Torre Quarto has an interesting history as in 1847, a French Duke who was traveling through Italy, Duke de la Rochefoucauld, recognized that the area where Torre Quarto is now located as capable of producing very high quality wines. Although I don't know what caught the Duke's eye, it was immediately apparent from walking through the vineyards, that are on rolling hills between Cerignola and the Adriatic Sea, that there is significant volcanic minerality in the soil. My following tasting session at the estate was even more of a positive surprise with the freshness and expressiveness of all the wines that I tasted.
An amusing side note to the Duke's ownership of the estate is that the primary destination of the wines produced in the very large cellars that were built was France. At this point in history, these were not bottled wines but effectively "bulk" wines shipped in large containers via the railway line that the Duke built to the estate. The principal destination for these richly flavored and minerally southern Italian wines was, umm, Bordeaux! At that time, the Bordeaux wine trade was mainly run by "negociants" who would buy barrels of wine from individual producers before then finding end customers for wines that were typically blends.
An additional bit of history at the time was the subsequent Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855 when properties were listed as "first growths" (Chateau Lafitte, Margaux, etc.), and "second growths" and so on. Maybe some of those first growths actually had some richly flavored Primitivo or minerally Nero di Troia mixed in with their blends! Interestingly enough, such a thing is also rumored in the present day about those "darker than usual" Barolos that are now being produced to please the wine color fixation possessed by some of the well-known wine critics. In any case, however, I thought the Torre Quarto wines were fine all by themselves and I have initially selected three wines that will be described below.
This opens with aromas of pear, apple, honey, and camellia. Flavors include pears, honeydew melon, apricots, and hazelnuts. The body seems “medium” but there is a fully saturated experience across the palate where the wine seems more fully bodied. There is lots of minerality from the volcanic terrain, perfect balance, refreshing acidity, and a full finish.
Food pairings would include crab, shrimp, sea bass, halibut, lobster, swordfish, veal, pork, chicken, pasta, and salads.
“Intrigo” Rose 2018
This is a fully flavored Rose from Nero di Troia grapes. Aromas include cherries, cantaloupe, strawberries, and raspberries. Prominent flavors include strawberries and cantaloupe along with many other hints of fresh red fruits. There is medium body, perfect balance, good acidity, and a fully saturated finish.
Food pairings would include crab, shrimp, salmon, swordfish, pork, grilled chicken, pasta salads, mild curries, red curries, and Indian Tandoori dishes.
“Rosso del Giudice” 2015
The 2015 Rosso del Giudice (Red Wine of the Judge) is a blend of 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Primitivo. Nero di Troia (which is also known as Uva di Troia – Grape of Troy) is a native grape of northern Puglia and Primitivo, of course, is the ancestor of what became known as Zinfandel in the U.S. The 2015 wine has aromas of beautiful rich red fruits and enticing hints of baked bread. The primary flavors are of blackberres, blueberries, and dark cherries. There is medium body, good balance, mild tannins, and perfect integration of the beautiful aromas and rich fruit flavors.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, braised meats, swordfish, sea bass (Branzino), Mussels, pasta with sauces ranging from light tomato sauces to rich meat sauces, charcuterie, salads including pasta and green salad, and medium cheeses.