Italy

Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Etruscan and Greek settlers produced wine in the country long before Romans started to develop their own vineyards in the second century BC. Roman grape-growing and wine making was prolific and well organized, pioneering large-scale production and storage techniques like barrel-making and bottling. Wine is part of the culture in Italy, every small village and little hamlet produce a local wine to be drunk with their meals. Italy itself has the overall richest variety of grapes and wine styles of any country. This is hardly a surprise; the country has a diverse set of climates and landscapes that just beg for vine growing. Wine-making in Italy has evolved greatly in the past 30 years; most wineries are more modern in style, boasting stainless steel fermenters, pneumatic grape presses, and other contemporary technology to help with the winemaking. Yet Italy is still stubbornly traditional, winemakers will still stomp grapes by foot and adhere to making the wine in the same style that their great grandfather did years before.

Umbria

Famous for the villages of Orvieto, Torgiano, and Montefalco, Umbria built a reputation for high quality olive oil, however renown is growing recently for the wines produced here. In the centre of Umbria is the town of Montefalco, here the native Sagrantino grape is cultivated. These dense dark reds are grown on clay soils and ripen well in the intense summer weather. These conditions produce a brambly red wine with a velvet texture and a hint of blackberry jam.

Sicily

This island off the "toe" of Italy is home to the towering volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna. Sicily is home for many young winemakers who take advantage of the hot sun and mountainous landscape to craft larger more opulent wines. As well as the indigenous white grapes Cataratto and Grenacito, the region makes excellent full bodied Chardonnay. The red wines of this region focus on Cannonau (Grenache), Nero d'Avola, and Frappato (another of the Marsala grapes). These red wines, as with the whites, lean to the plumper style of winemaking.

Puglia

Puglia is the "heel" or Achilles tendon of the Italian boot. With a long coastline and delightfully hot weather, this region is perfect for growing rich red wines with generous fruit and alcohol. The main red grapes of the region are Uva di Troia, Negroamaro and Primitivo. Primitivo shares the same DNA as Zinfandel and has a lot of the same qualities, producing wines which are fruit forward and big bodied. Thanks to recent government schemes to limit production the overall quality of wine has risen, innovative young winemakers are leading the way with different blends of indigenous grapes and "international" varieties.

Piedmont

In Northwest Italy lies the Piedmont region (Piemonte in Italian.), most famous for the production of Barolo and Barbaresco, the long lived wines from the Nebbiolo grape. The Langhe and Monferrato hills here provide excellent growing conditions for creating the balance of delicate floral notes and tannic structure found in these wines. The grape is named after the fog, or "Nebbia", which shrouds the vineyards in a white veil just before harvest. The wines themselves are intrinsically linked with the food of the region, often having notes of the indigenous white truffles the region is famous for. Recently an upsurge of interest in some of the other local varieties such as Barbera and Dolcetto has taken the U.S. market by storm. Softer than their Barolo and Barbaresco counterparts, and providing more succulent fruit, these wines are priced to be an easier drinking choice with any simple meal.

Marche

The Apennines mountain range runs the length of this region and dominates the landscape of the interior. Towards the east is the Adriatic Sea and over one hundred miles of coastline. The Maritime influences dictate the weather here and provide perfect weather for whites in the North, and a warmer clime for plump reds in the South. The main grape for the whites is Verdicchio. Verdicchio grows well around the towns of Jesi and Matelico producing balanced wines with soft herbal notes, flavors of Bosc pear and tart yellow apple. The red wines from the towns of Piceno and Conero are based on the Montepulciano grape. The style leans towards that of a red wine from Chianti, but with a softer more supple feel.

Liguria

South of Piedmont, commanding glorious beach-front views is Liguria. Famous for the tourist areas of Dolceacqua, Cinque Terre, and of course the olive groves which are planted throughout the region. The mountainous countryside and sea breezes allow the production of light aromatic wines from the Vermentino and Pigato Bianco grapes. These wine make excellent matches with the local food; calamari and white fish are great meals when paired with these wines.

Friuli

In the Northeast corner of Italy, sandwiched between the borders of Slovenia, Austria, and the Veneto region, lies Friuli. With cold air from the Alps in the North and a more moderate influence from the Adriatic in the South, Friuli has a long cool growing climate particularly suited for producing crisp white wine. Here Pinot Grigio, Friulano, and Malvasia produce lean, yet aromatic whites which pair well with food. The ancient red variety Refosco produces notable reds here; and the gravel soils reminiscent of Bordeaux have produced great success with Merlot since its introduction in the late 1800's. On a warm day in Friuli the local wine is paired with sauerkraut, prosciutto, veal shanks, and pasta.

Campania

Campania is a beautiful region visited by many tourists from Italy and abroad. The climate is split between the coastal areas and the inland reaches. By the coast the weather is sunny, Mediterranean and excellent for ripening full fruit forward grapes. Inland the weather is more comparable to the climate of Piedmont, and is better for ripening grapes with higher acidity and tarter fruit flavors. The popular white grapes of the region are Greco di Tufo and Falanghina. Greco di Tufo creates mild mannered wines with subtle aromatics, whereas wines from Falanghina have more zip and freshness to them. The main red grape of the region is Aglianico, a feisty red grape producing concentrated wine with excellent structure and tannins.

Abruzzo

In Northwest Italy lies the Piedmont region (Piemonte in Italian.), most famous for the production of Barolo and Barbaresco, the long lived wines from the Nebbiolo grape. The Langhe and Monferrato hills here provide excellent growing conditions for creating the balance of delicate floral notes and tannic structure found in these wines. The grape is named after the fog, or "Nebbia", which shrouds the vineyards in a white veil just before harvest. The wines themselves are intrinsically linked with the food of the region, often having notes of the indigenous white truffles the region is famous for. Recently an upsurge of interest in some of the other local varieties such as Barbera and Dolcetto has taken the U.S. market by storm. Softer than their Barolo and Barbaresco counterparts, and providing more succulent fruit, these wines are priced to be an easier drinking choice with any simple meal.

Veneto

The Veneto in the Northeast of Italy produces wines of all styles. Far to the east and just North of Venice are the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, the finest Prosecco is produced here, a delicious alternative to Champagne. The wine is known for its softer apple dominated nose and easy drinking style. On the Western boundary of the Veneto is Lake Garda which helps to moderate the growing climate in the nearby Valpolicella region. Here the Corvina and Rondinella grapes are grown, the best of which are put through the "appassimento" process. This process is used to make Amarone by drying the grapes and concentrating the grape sugars, thus creating a larger bodied wine with notes of fig and chocolate. Further south and east is the up and coming region of Colli Euganei. The volcanic hills here are perfect for the growing of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tuscany

For over 3,000 years, since the days of the ancient Etruscans, wine making has been a part of the Tuscan civilization. Located just above the "kneecap" of Italy, the Sangiovese grape is the heart and soul of this region. The reputation of this region was smirched in the '70s and early '80s with a glut of over-cropped, thin, insipid Chianti. Modern technological advances and changes to the wine laws have brought the prestige back to this region. Chianti Classico is once again considered to be a top wine on the world stage. These advances and the wine law changes have also benefited the growth of more international style wines: Dubbed "Super-Tuscans" in the 1970s and 1980s, they were some of the highest priced and best wines produced in Italy. They were made outside of the wine laws of the time; mixing in Cabernet Sauvignon with the Sangiovese, using only Bordeaux grape varieties, or aging in French oak barriques, producers created wines which were richer and more structured than Chianti could produce at the time. These modern practices and non-traditional blends continue today under the auspice of the IGT labeling system. Within the Chianti region is the town of Montalcino, famous for the long-lived Brunello di Montalcino wine. This wine is a muscular wine created from Sangiovese and given extended oak aging in barrels to help temper its deep tannic nature.

Italy Wine Producers

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Italy Area
Producer
Label
About the producer
AbruzzoContesaContesa is located in Abruzzo, 20 km from Pescara, on the sunny hills of Collecorvino. Local varieties such as Montepulciano, Trebbiano, and Pecorino are cultivated here. Winemaker Rocco Pasetti crafts wines with a focus on preserving the natural characteristics of the grapes. For more info, please visit their website:
Azienda Agricola Contesa
AbruzzoFattoria NicodemiThe Nicodemi estate is high up in the chalky, clay-rich hills located about 20 miles from the Adriatic. Nicodemi is a family winery founded by Bruno Nicodemi, and today is run by brother and sister team Alessandro and Elena Nicodemi. The family's vineyards are more than 900 feet above sea level and just 20 miles from the sea. The hillsides represent a unique microclimate that is temperate and windy; this moderate climate results in slow ripening and thus rich, textured wines. All the work in the field is done in a more traditional manner; harvest, pruning and planting is all done by hand.
The "Notàri" single-varietal wines represent a special selection of grapes, often from older vines, and are aged in a combination of tank and older barrel.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
CampaniaCantina FarroCantina Farro was established by winemaker Michele Farro's grandfather in 1926. The winery has always been a family operation, and the Farro family's dedication to low yields, artisanal winemaking and Italy's native varietals is exceptional even for Italy. Here vines share land with Roman ruins, growing as they did when their original owners crafted wines for ancient emperors.
The region's native grape varietals, Falanghina and Piedirosso, were probably originally planted by Greek hands over 2000 years ago. The winery and vineyards are on a short peninsula to the west of Naples called Campi Flegrei.
Just like Vesuvius to the southeast, Campi Flegrei is an active volcanic region that has over the centuries both ravaged the land with eruptions and blessed it with the resulting fertile, volcanic soils. Some of the vineyards are at more than 1,800 feet above sea level and are subject to the two winds which blow in here: the "tramontane" howls down from the snow-capped Apennine Mountains and the warm "sirocco" from the desert sands of northern Africa. These winds help to ripen the grapes over a longer period of time and add complexity to the wine.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
CampaniaCasa d'AmbraFounded in 1888, the Casa d'Ambra winery is a family affair. Francesco d'Ambra, originally from Calabria, founded the estate; yet it was his son, Mario, who established Casa d'Ambra as the authority on Ischian wines from its unique, native varietals. Today, winemaker and enologist Andrea d'Ambra (nephew of Mario) runs the estate, managing not only the winery's own vineyards but also the small group of dedicated, local farmers who grow grapes for the winery.
The winery itself is located on the island of Ischia: A beautiful island off the coast of Napoli in Campania. The vineyards are carved into volcanic rock, which sport an unusual sea-green color, a result of mineral deposits from the sea. You can taste this sea salt mineral influence in the wines.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
CampaniaQuintaleQuintale is found in the lesser-known town of Teverola, close to Aversa and northeast of Naples in southern Italy. The estate maintains some of the finest vineyards in Campania, utilizing Campania's volcanic soils to great effect. White wines are especially fresh and vibrant, and ideal for regional seafood dishes. The reds are rich and complex, chock-full of spice and echo the raw passion of the terrain.
Aglianico is a rustic, robust red grape that is considered to be the Nebbiolo of the south when grown on volcanic soils.
Asprinio is a delicate white grape with impressive acidity and freshness.
Casavecchia is a red grape with good body and structure. It is similar to Aglianico, but slightly lighter in weight and texture.
Greco di Tufo is a white grape with light floral notes and hints of stone fruit on the palate.
Falanghina is another native white grape with citrus and wildflower tones.
Pallagrello Nero is a red grape with a lush body of plums and blueberries and a soft mouth feel.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
FriuliAlbericeAlberice is located near Corno di Rosazzo, not far from the Slovenian border in the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC. The soils here are a unique mix called "ponca", a blend of volcanic soils and glacial debris that is incredibly mineral, giving Alberice wines (especially the whites) a pronounced, nervy edge. Winemaker Francesco Carpene uses no wood, and no heavy-handed winemaking, the wines are fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel, to preserve both the freshness of fruit and the mineral character of the land. The cooling winds from the Alps, and the moderate sea influence from the Gulf of Trieste keeps the region cool. This special combination means grapes at Alberice are harvested a good week or two later than surrounding regions, resulting in more concentration and better balance in each bottle.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
FriuliBorgo BelvedereThe finest Pinot Grigio comes from the stony foothills of Friuli. Low yielding plants are subject to a combination of cool mountain air from the Alps and warm sea breezes from the Adriatic. This combination is perfect for a gradual even ripening and helps to deliver driven refreshing white wine. The vineyards are littered with chalky stones, left behind by receding glaciers and river runoff, which imbue the wines with a great minerality and help keep vineyards at an optimum temperature, absorbing the warmth of the day and releasing this heat through the chillier mountain nights. Borgo Belvedere is always vinified completely in tank, to preserve that steely, bright and mineral-driven fruit; the wine too is consistently, refreshingly balanced and not too high in alcohol-just the sort of perfect white wine that is easy to enjoy every day.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
LiguriaDurinDurin is a family farm and winery located in Ortovero in western Liguria. The region has a long history of winemaking, yet much of its production stays in the area for the consumption of locals and the tourists at the nearby picturesque town of Cinque Terre. Ligurian viticulture is best known for its terrain, terraced vineyards are dug into precipitous hillsides, much akin to Côte Rôtie in France. Winemaker Antonio Basso cares for more than 40 acres of vines in this rugged earth. Vines here are naturally low yielding, and grapes as a result are rich, ripe and infused with the character of the land.
Durin produces single-varietal wines, as to best showcase the history and purity of its native grapes. The "prince" of Ligurian wines is Pigato, a white grape native to the region and cultivated for more than 100 years on these rocky slopes. Originally from Greece, Pigato is believed to have been introduced to Liguria around the 1600s, and is a distant cousin of Vermentino. Intensely perfumed, medium-bodied and very fresh, Pigato is an obvious pairing with Ligurian seafood dishes.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.durin.it
MarcheVilla AnnalisaVilla Annalisa is nestled in the hills above the sea town of Ancona in the Marche, a haven for seafood and vacationers along the Adriatic. Verdicchio and Montepulciano are the region's native grapes, and reach their apogee here under the guiding eye of winemaker Andrea Crocenzi.
The cooling influence of the sea and the altitude of the vineyards-all more than 1,000 feet above sea level-are what keep grapes concentrated and balanced, not to mention the estate's dedication to very low yields (unusual in the region). Vines too are densely planted, a further step to ensure that fruit is as expressive and complex as it can be. The Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi selection is 100% Verdicchio, a native Italian white varietal with lively acidity and a delicate floral perfume. The estate's high-altitude vineyards, and very low yields, help keep Verdicchio fresh and balanced.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
PiedmontDemarie GiovanniOver three generations of the Demarie Giovanni family have been running Demarie Giovanni. Located in the heart of the Roero region in Piedmont, Demarie Giovanni grow many different grapes, but specialize in growing Barbera.
Barbera is the favorite of the farm laborers here in Piedmont. Traditionally grown for easy drinking wines, the grape is loaded with strong berry flavors and a tough structure. Demarie Giovanni still vinify the wines in the more traditional methods, using gentle pressing and Slovenian oak for their barrels to maintain flavor.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.demarie.com
PiedmontDestefanisMarco Destefanis is one of the many up and coming young winemakers of Piedmont. This winemaker uses nothing but vines twice his own age, which produce rare fruit with incredible concentration. Dolcetto should be pure pleasure to drink. At its best, it can be thought of as Italy's answer to Zinfandel: gutsy, irresistible wine with a freshness and balance Zin can't touch. Destefanis's Dolcetto is in another league; rich, seductive, and totally enjoyable, but entirely serious too.
Giuseppe Destefanis founded the Piedmont estate in the 1950s, with the first vineyards planted in the 1960s. In 1985, Giuseppe's grandson, Marco Destefanis, breathed fresh life into the property by replanting vineyards, updating cellar technology and focusing the estate on traditional regional varietals, Barbera and Dolcetto.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
PiedmontLuigi GiordanoLuigi Giordano is a small family winery situated in Barbaresco near the Tanaro river.
The winery and its vineyards were founded in the 1930s by Giovanni Giordano, today it is run by his son Luigi and Luigi's two daughters Laura and Silvia. The winery owns seven hectares of vineyards all located on the hills of Barberesco, including some of the more prestigious sub-zones Montestefano, Asili, Ronchi and Cavanna. The 2004 vintage in Piedmont is being hailed as a great vintage, and the Luigi Giordano is a classic example. The Barbaresco Montestefano comes solely from the Montestefano sub-zone of Barbaresco, and is aged in the traditional Slavonian oak barrels for 2 years before being left to age in bottle for a further year. This helps to maintain the ethereal perfume notes of pot pourri, spice, and sweet tar.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.luigigiordano.it/
PiedmontRonchiGiancarlo Rocca named his winery "Ronchi" because it is located in the middle of one of the most famous crus of Barbaresco called "Ronchi", right next to Montestefano. Ronchi means hillsides; Rocca means rock. Those names work nicely together to describe the essence of this winery. Steep hillsides, ideally located, full of stones: an Eden for Nebbiolo grapes. Rocca crafts a Barbaresco from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the famous "Ronchi" vineyard, which is traditionally fermented and aged in older botte, or larger older oak barrels.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
PugliaCantine de FalcoLocated in the Salento region of southern Puglia, Cantine de Falco is headed by winemaker Gabriele De Falco, grandson of founder Salvatore De Falco. The wines made by Cantine De Falco are typical of the style of wines made in Puglia. The use of the native grapes Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia, and Nero di Troia creates wines that taste like the traditional wines of Puglia. The "Bocca Della Verità" Primitivo has the typical flavor of the region. Related to the Zinfandel grown in California, this wine is more succulent and juicy rather than jammy and spicy. Gabriele de Falco likes to use an extended maceration time to help the wine grab as much flavor and color from the grapes as possible. He also chooses a moderate oak regime and aging in the bottle to retain the silky smooth tannins that are apparent in Primitivo and Negroamaro.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.cantinedefalco.it
PugliaTorre QuartoTorre Quarto is owned by the Farussi family who have made wine here for generations.
More than a hundred years ago, the estate sold grapes to Bordeaux winemakers, as did many southern Italian winemakers with large crops and dense, concentrated grapes.
Stefano Cirillo Farrusi, the youngest grandson of the original owner, stepped in to rescue Torre Quarto from over production and anonymity. He hired enologist Cristoforo Pastore to help isolate the estate's most suitable vines and focus overall on the best local, and unusual grape varietals.
These include the fruity and juicy red Uva di Troia, and the powerful Primitivo, the alleged grandmother of Zinfandel.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
SicilyPietradolceEtna's ancient vines Nerello Mascalese are grown on the jet-black volcanic slopes of the region. This little black grape from the town of Mascali, on the coast has for over a century been cultivated on the large island of Sicily. Practically every family on the mountain had a handful of gnarled vines; homemade wine was enjoyed with family alongside local meat and produce. After World War II, however, these precious vineyards were abandoned in droves. It wasn't until the early 1990s when Italy's young winemakers rediscovered these vines.
Winemaker Michele Faro makes wine from the estate's modest seven acres of vineyards located at more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The "Archineri" Etna Rosso is a 100% Nerello Mascalese wine, harvested by hand and then fermented in tank, and then aged in a mix of new and older large barrels.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
TuscanyBuonamicoThe Buonamico estate is located southwest of Montecarlo, in the Cercatoia area, and covers an area of 38 hectares, 26 of which are dedicated to specialized vineyards.
The winery was founded by renowned restaurateurs from Turin in the early 1960s with the purpose of furnishing their restaurants with wines from Montecarlo. Today, the Estate, which is owned by the Fontana family, has expanded in terms of both vineyard land and wine cellar space. While preserving the essential characteristics of ancient winemaking flavours, the “Buonamico” winery has now become one of Montecarlo’s leading producers of fine wines.
TuscanyCordellaLocated between Montalcino and Torrenieri, in the northeast corner of the Brunello di Montalcino appellation, the Cordella estate is a modest one, with just under 15 acres of vineyards.
Maddalena Cordella is the winemaker and steward of her family's estate in Montalcino.
Until 1998 the family would sell all of it's grapes to other producers in the region. Maddalena assumed partial control of the estate from her father, and made the decision to start bottling their own wines. Winemaking at Cordella is mostly hands-off, with slow, temperature controlled fermentations and long aging in a mix of old and new Slavonian casks, as per Brunello tradition.
The wines show elegance and refinement rather than the more modern style of extraction and alcohol which dominate other producer's wines. The soils are a mix of clay and sand, and the vineyards sit on a slope at more than 1,000 feet in altitude. The wines are fermented in a modest cottage on the estate, and aged in a renovated farmhouse.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.cordellavini.it
TuscanyCastello della PanerettaCastello della Paneretta sits in the heart of the Val d'Elsa in the Chianti Classico zone, just north of Poggibonsi, the estate itself has been making wine since 1596. Current owner Fabio Albisetti decided to preserve the estate's historic vines of Sangiovese and Canaiolo and replanted using only the original rootstock.
The hills here are made up of a witches' brew of soils and geologic influences, each vineyard is a unique blend of limestone and clay with iron rich sprinkles. A fact used by their famous neighbors Monsanto and Isola e Olena to craft their exceptional wines as well.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
TuscanyCastello PoggiarelloThis small family farm is nestled in the foothills of the Montagnola, just west of Siena. In addition to the estate's 15+ acres of vineyards, it maintains horse pastures, olive orchards, vegetable gardens and flower beds. The vineyards feed from a unique, iron-rich, brick-red earth-soil so unusual that it's not found anywhere else around Siena. The estate's 100% organic vines produce just a pound of fruit per plant; that's barely two bunches.
Recalling the ancient nobility of Tuscany, Castello Poggiarello's centerpiece is its 1,000-year-old grain tower. Poggiarello Collerosso is a blend of equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot, aged for 16 months in one-wine French oak barrels. The name is inspired by the red, iron-rich soils of the estate.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
TuscanyFattoria ParadisoSuperstar enologist Paolo Caciorgna is the winemaker at Fattoria Paradiso and is a leading example of how great local San Gimignano white wines can be. Vernaccia is a local white grape varietal that is bottled as Vernaccia di San Gimignano; much of the wine is of an average quality that is sold on name alone. Caciorgna is fighting this with a Vernaccia that is refreshing and strikingly aromatic, aged in entirely stainless steel. Wines are all produced from rigorously controlled yields, with less than 30-35 hectoliters per hectare, and produce a wine with complexity and balance.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
TuscanyLa FioritaLa Fiorita was established in the town of Castelnuovo Abate in 1992 by three people who share a passion for the wines of Montalcino. Top winemaker Roberto Cipresso, Lucio Gomiero owner of Vignalta, and Tiziano Siviero a former world rally champion all collaborate to create wines based on Sangiovese. The vines themselves are grown near the Orcia valley just south of Montalcino and are some of the best vineyards in the region.
The Laurus wine is a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot that is fermented in Slavonian oak barrels, then aged in the French oak barrels which were used for the Brunello production.
The Brunello and Brunello Riserva are consistently rated highly not only by the press here in the U.S., but also by the more demanding palates of the Italian reviewers.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.fattorialafiorita.it
TuscanyVecchia CantinaFounded in 1937, La Vecchia Cantina is the oldest winemaking cooperative in Tuscany. It is situated at the centre of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano production zone, an area whose winemaking roots go back hundreds of years, at least to the time in which Francesco Redi (17th Century) wrote his famous poem "Bacco in Toscana".
After surviving the difficult years of the Second World War and the reorganisation of its land in the 1950s, the Vecchia Cantina became a real driving force in the area and during the 1960s and 1970s it single-handedly brought about a revolution in the whole Montepulciano area. Today, it maintains over 400 registered growers producing wines for three separate tiers: Vecchia Cantina is the entry level wine, Poggio Stella is the mid-tier, and Ledi is the high end wine.

For winery information, plus tasting & technical notes and accolades, please see:www.vecchiacantinadimontepulciano.com
TuscanyVilla RitinaVilla Ritina sits in the southwest corner of the Chianti Classico appellation in a hilly region just outside Poggibonsi. Villa Ritina's excellent vineyards face due south, an optimal exposure for full-bodied and beautifully ripe Sangiovese. A blend of rocky soils and sub-soil clay contribute both a structured minerality and a broad, silky mouthfeel to the wine. At more than 1,000 feet above sea level, the estate's low-yielding vineyards are harvested exclusively by hand, and fruit is vinified naturally in both tank and barrel.
The Villa Ritina Chianti Classico is a high-altitude, hand-harvested 100% Sangiovese wine that is vinified in a combination of tank and barrel, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The Villa Ritina Sangiovese di Toscana is 100% Sangiovese wine from declassified Chianti Classico grapes, and vinified completely in tank to preserve its fruity, lush profile. It is also bottled unfined and unfiltered.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
TuscanyViottoloThe Capalle Winery is a 500-acre, family-owned estate producing the Viottolo labeled wines. All of the Viottolo wines are made using estate grown grapes grown mostly in the Chianti region. The Chianti Classico wines take advantage of a recent change in the DOCG laws, and add a little Cabernet Sauvignon to the Sangiovese. This adds a bit of dark fruit and smooth tannins to the wine, ultimately creating a richer wine. The IGT wines are produced in a slightly more modern style using French oak Barriques for aging and a pre-fermentation skin soak to help extract color and flavor.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
viottolowines.com
UmbriaPerticaiaPerticaia means "plow" in Etruscan and the Estate owned by Guido Guardigli lives up to the name. Old fashioned and unchanged for generations this part of Umbria is famous for the local grape: Sagrantino. Gardigli's Perticaia, located in the heart of Montefalco, the place for modern Sagrantino, finds its inspiration not only from the past but from the future, employing both natural and modern techniques to craft Sagrantino wines that are dazzling in their complexity, flavor profile and structure. The Montefalco Sagrantino is 100% Sagrantino, aged for 12 months in a combination of new and older barrique.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
VenetoAzienda Agricola AndreolaAndreola is located in Col San Martino, a small town situated on the green hills of Treviso in the Venetian hills. 28 hectares of vineyards are farmed almost exclusively to the Glera (Prosecco) grape, with a small amount of other native grapes: Verdiso, Perera and Bianchetta. These other grapes have been used in the Prosecco region since ancient times and are used in small percentages to give an authentic flavor.

This family owned business was founded in 1984 by Nazareno Pola and today his son, Stefano Pola, continues to manage the company with the same philosophy as his father.
The passion for the vineyards and the wine is the hallmark of this family business and Stefano still follows its production from vineyard to cellar, wisely combining ancient methods with modern technologies.

The grapes are harvested between September and October and are crushed, destemmed and undergo a soft pressing to ensure the long aromatic richness typical of the grape. The grapes are vinified at low temperatures for up to two weeks, after the first fermentation the wine is then placed in sealed containers for the secondary fermentation. The temperature is kept low so that the fermentation is slower and therefore the bubbles formed are smaller and of better quality.

Thanks to the strict attention to detail, from the vineyards to the winery, the wines do not contain high doses of sulfur because the wine acquires its own natural protection.

The region of Prosecco has ancient origins beginning even before the Roman colonization the the 2nd Century BC. Grapes were grown at that time on the hills of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano and were highly prized for wine production by the uuper-class Roman consumers. The fame of the region continued through the 15th and 16th Centuries and wine was exported to Venice and Prussian territories. The spread of Phylloxera and Oidium in the late 1800s stunted the industry here for a while, but it is still in the middle of a major revival.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.andreola.eu
VenetoCa'VittoriaMost commercial Prosecco comes from the lowlands of the appellation. Ca'Vittoria owns ideal south-facing vineyards on the steepest hillsides, one of the key determinants of quality in the Prosecco zone. These high-altitude plots enjoy the cooling winds from the northern mountains, which helps to keep vines healthy as well as allows grapes to ripen evenly and slowly.
Here the Prosecco vines are naturally lower yielding, and thus produce flavorful, concentrated berries from these estate grown vineyards. The estate's cellar, dug into the cool granite "Cima Alta" hillsides, keeps Ca'Vittoria Prosecco at optimal temperatures during fermentation and aging. The Ca'Vittoria Brut Rosé is a unique Prosecco rose sparkler, with an added touch of Raboso, a red grape that adds both color and zest to the wine.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
VenetoDama del RovereThe Pra family of Dama del Rovere has been making wines here to the east of Lake Garda for three generations. The Durello grape commands the best real estate in Soave, the vineyards for this unique bubbly grow at some 1,500 feet. Today you can count the number of families who produce Durello sparkling wines on one hand, but the Pra family is 100% dedicated to preserving this ancient art. Very old vines, very low yields and the Pra family's artisanal touch make this Brut chock-full of flavor and irresistible. Yeasty notes blend with white pepper and apple on the nose; the mouth is dry and lively, with citrus highlights.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
VenetoNovaiaOn the sunny hillsides of Alta Valpolicella, just northwest of Verona, sits the historic estate of Novaia. This 15th century winery seamlessly combines the old and the new, creating wines from ancient native Italian varietals while celebrating these wines in its state-of-the-art tasting room and cantina. High-altitude vineyards add a unique character to every wine produced at this estate.
The Vaona family has been making wine in Valpolicella for generations. In 1908, the family won a grand prix medal in Verona for its wines; today, these high standards continue under the stewardship of Gianpaolo Vaona and his brother, Cesare.

For winery & vineyard information, plus tasting notes, please see:
www.northberkeleyimports.com
VenetoRive Della ChiesaThe name Rive Della Chiesa is synonymous with genuine quality, freshness of flavor and simplicity. The company was founded in the town of Selva del Montello, located in the province of Treviso, by the Gasparetto family. Today, brothers Luigi and Michele run the family business applying their expertise and attention to detail to all the various stages of production.
The planting of new vineyards particularly suited for the soil of Montello and the technical innovations applied to the cantina show the brothers' sensibility toward a final product created with passion, wisdom, knowledge and professionalism, keeping in mind the most ancient of traditions. This is how Rive Della Chiesa creates its great reds and whites and its excellent Prosecco Spumante.
This is certainly a production destined to wine lovers, wine experts and restaurateurs.
For tasting & technical notes, winery & vineyard information, please see:
www.rivedellachiesa.com
VenetoSan RusticoFounded in 1870 by Luigi Campagnola on the "Gaso" farm in the heart of Valpolicella in the Vento, San Rustico is currently run by the fourth generation of Campagnolas: Marco and Enrico. The brothers remain faithful to the traditional methods of growing grapes and vinifying wine that have made the Valpolicella region famous throughout Italy and the world. Enrico specializes in the healthy growth of grapes in the vineyard and oversees the "appassimento" process creating the Amarone wines. The Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella grapes are laid on either racks or mats and then dried for about 3 months until they lose approximately 30% of their volume. This concentrates the sugar in the grapes and creates wines that are full in flavor and alcohol. The wines are then aged for 3 years in the traditional Slavonian oak casks. The Amarone is powerful style of wine which needs to age and "breathe" to show its full potential of figs, spice, and chocolate.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.sanrustico.it
VenetoVignaltaVignalta is the brainchild of Lucio Gomiero and Graziano Cardin. Founded in 1980, the winery is located in Marlunghe in the Colli Euganei. The Colli Euganei is a group of hills to the east of Lake Garda and Valpolicella. There are two different types of hills here: The hills produced by magma erupting from the sea bed, and the hills formed when the magma did not erupt, but raised the sea bed instead. The hills created by the volcanic eruptions have loose crumbling volcanic soil covered with thick vegetation. The hills which rose from the sea-bed slope more gently and are coated with chalky outcroppings of marlstone and a thin topsoil layer. Thus the type of wine from the grapes grown on the different hills varies. The volcanic soil is exceedingly good for the production of Merlot and ripens high quality lush Merlot to be used in the "Gemola" wine.

For winery, tasting & technical notes, vineyard and award information please see:
www.vignalta.it