A Trio Of Talent: Wine & Spirits Top 100
North Berkeley Imports is very honored and certainly proud to have THREE partners named to the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries list for 2016 — what a showing! This list is the who’s who of worldwide wineries that consistently perform and that have seriously wowed Wine & Spirits tasters over the past year. And, drum roll, please! Here’s our list.
Domaine Egly-Ouriet Champagne is the cult wine for Champagne lovers who crave the power and finesse of Pinot Noir-based wines. North Berkeley Imports was an early champion and one of the first importers of grower Champagne in the United States — and our very first partner was Egly-Ouriet. Francis Egly’s practice of harvesting very ripe grapes and aging his wines in barrel for years longer than almost any other Champagne house are some of the practices that set his art apart from the rest; yet it is the results that captivate, vintage after vintage.
Egly-Ouriet Champagne is age-worthy, sumptuous and at times surreal; these bottles are unquestionably the pinnacle of Pinot Noir-based Champagne. Egly has been named to Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 list for two years running — 2015 and 2016.
The Rocca di Montegrossi estate is located in a unique micro-zone called Monti in Chianti, part of Gaiole in Chianti. This exceptional, high-altitude plateau with its stony, calcareous soils produces some of the more elegant, harmonious Chianti Classico wines in the appellation; Monte in Chianti is one of the “very best areas” in Chianti Classico, says Antonio Galloni.
The Ricasoli-Firidolfi family is synonymous with Chianti Classico, as Baron Bettino Ricasoli—the “Iron Baron” and future prime minister of a united Italy—in 1872 created the original “formula” for Chianti Classico’s blend of grapes. Winemaker Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi’s 50 acres of vines are surrounded by 50 acres of olive trees and 250 acres of natural woodland. The estate has farmed organically since 2006, and was organically certified in 2010.
Our newest partner from Italy, Vadiaperti is a generations-old family estate that has both the first and last word on the true character of southern Italian white wines. The landscape of their corner of Campania, called Irpina, looks like the Land of the Lost: deeply green valleys dotted with orange and lemon trees, steep mountains wreathed in swirling fog.
This is extraordinary white wine country—solid limestone (like Burgundy) and moisture-retaining volcanic clay, so even in the sweltering Italian summer, vines are never stressed. Ancient Romans for good reason chose Irpina as the source of their most prized Fiano wines; a grape vine never had it so good.
Winemaker Raffaele Troisi is a vine grower in a long line of wine fanatics — the Troisi family has always been Irpina boosters, working hard to show the world why this corner of southern Italy is a treasure trove for mineral-rich white wines. Importantly, the family has only ever made single-variety wines — blending would be an affront to the grapes’ true character!