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New Zealand has its Marlborough, and California has its Carneros. Yet when it comes to world-class wines that too are (still) a jaw-dropping value, Chile's Casablanca Valley may trump them all.
Our partners at Viña Quintay, and its sister label, Clava, work with eight different growers in this breathtaking valley, nestled in the country's coastal range of mountains called the Cordillera de la Costa. The vineyard soils reflect the gradual erosion of the mountains; topsoils are comprised of sand and red clay, while deeper down the mountains' core of granite and quartz rock gives wines great minerality. Poor soils combined with a maritime environment is the mother lode for cool-weather varietal wines—which is why Casablanca is Chile's best source for Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
While the region sits too far west to be directly influenced by the Andes, it is the sea that helps keep things cool. Cool morning fogs and afternoon breezes keep temperatures moderate, allowing slow and even ripening—similar to California's Carneros region or France's Loire Valley.
Harvests are always done by hand, and a strict selection is made before the grapes are pressed to ensure every berry is perfectly ripe. Wine is fermented primarily in stainless steel, with a very small percentage (usually less than 1%) in new French oak for added complexity and body, and is aged on fine lees.
Only the cream of the crop is selected for North Berkeley bottlings—we taste every lot of wine in the Quintay cellars to select what we feel captures the truest expression of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir from this exemplary wine region.