At William-Harrison Imports, we were a French-only import house for the first 12 years. Each year Harrison and the sales staff would go to taste and select wines throughout France, and import them directly to get the best value to the customer. As time went on, the best of those selections stayed in the portfolio, others were deleted, and ultimately the wines that we offer are those that have proven to be the best-selling, best in category wines that we have found over all these years. The French wines selected are fruit-driven, expressive of the terroir, and besides being great values, delightful to drink. The long-term relationship (some going on 20 years!) with our producers allows us to offer the best quality at the best price.
Argentina was the first viticultural area that Harrison explored after France for importing wines. The purity of the wines produced by an arid, high-elevation climate was compelling, especially with the Malbec grape proving to make a beautifully-balanced and rich wine with more expression of fruit and much softer tannins than in France. The Mendoza wineries we represent grow grapes in Maipú, Luján de Cuyo, Altimira, and Tupungato, some of the best soils in the foothills of the Andes. We were one of the first to bring in wines from Patagonia as well, which provide wines of a different character from Mendoza. With our French background, you will find our wines from Argentina to be more structured and balanced than many other New World wines.
Quinta de la Rosa is a single-quinta Port house. Quinta is the Portuguese name for farm, and this is an owner-grower Port house that makes their fortified and un-fortified wines at the winery next to the vineyard where the grapes are grown, not in Oporto. The Bergqvist family has a port-making legacy from 1815 and has owned the quinta for over 100 years. The location of this centuries-old property in Pinhão is superb, situated in the heart of the Alto Douro. Rated as one of the top quintas of the Douro by virtue of its vineyards all being rated ‘A’ in the Casa Douro rating system (A-F), the quinta has a great diversity of ‘terroirs’ and microclimates, enabling the best blends to be made with vineyards of differing aspect and altitude. This is a spectacular Port and Douro portfolio.
Spain for decades had been producing wines the same old-fashioned way, and as the last century closed, many younger Spaniards in the wine business began to travel and see how wines were produced and marketed elsewhere, and the wines began to be fresher, more lively, more modern without losing that ‘Spanish’ character. The Spanish wines offered are the first that we have found to be of excellent character, price, and respective of the ‘terroir’. A small sampling so far, but these have proven to be well-received and appreciated in both retail and restaurants.
After many years looking for Italian wines that we could offer, Harrison embarked late in 2011 on a concerted effort to find a group of Italian wines that would represent a cross-section of everyday wines and cellar-destined (some high-scoring) big wines that would please most Italian wine aficionados. These wines are very good values, not only because we import them directly like the other wines we represent, but because they represent the character, style, and ‘terroir’ of the appellations.
The range of our domestic wine portfolio is very unique, in that there is one product. We were offered the opportunity to distribute in certain markets a very limited amount of Russian River Pinot Noir that comes from 2 vineyards and represents 16 barrels of wine for the entire production. We jumped at it. The owner is the original owner of Moon Mountain Vineyard and was General Manager , then ultimately Vice President of Sonoma-Cutrer. We will receive somewhere between 1 and a half to 2 pallets of wine a year, and will sell all of it.