OP here, two years later. We ended up getting the Bertazzoni. We did have some minor issues with the oven heat not being as uniform as it could be, but now keep our pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and that has helped even the heat dispersal for whatever we're baking. I liked the look of the Smeg but ended up being too worried about availability of parts. Other than the minor oven issues, we've been thrilled with the berta. Love the range of burners. We have had no maintenance issues to date.
Johnb, For 36" ranges in our price range, there are surprisingly few options. Around $3k, we're pretty much limited to the European brands - Bertazzoni, Verona (which I've heard bad things about) and now Smeg.
DCRB, I did call AJ Madison - the first person I spoke to said they've heard great things about Smeg and would recommend over the Berta. The second person we talked to said they'd go with Berta. So we're stuck. But a great idea to try other stores that sell both products.
We unfortunately have to replace all appliances, since we bought a fixer-upper with no usable ones that conveyed.
I'm hoping to find a baker who can assuage our fears about the Berta oven, or someone who's bought and used a Smeg and can give a report back.
Just posted this over on Gardenweb, but hoping we'll get additional responses here as well.
We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen and are researching 36" gas ranges (no dual fuel). Smeg and Bertazzoni are both in our price range. We've read a fair number of complaints about the Berta oven regarding uneven temperatures, burning of baked goods, etc. Some say using convection solves this problem, but we've also read that the convection doesn't work well and isn't appropriate for all baked goods, such as bread baking. We bake bread regularly.
Are these complaints about the Berta valid? We've also read some reviews that love this range.
Meanwhile, the Smeg seems like a great alternative, but it has few reviews and given its newness on the American market, we worry that repairs and parts might be challenging. Has anyone gotten a Smeg and used it? Is it worth the risk of potential parts/service difficulty? We called AJ Madison and talked to their sales guy, since they sell both brands and seem pretty high volume, and he said he's heard nothing but good things about the Smeg and would go with it over the Berta. Then we called back and talked to a different guy who said the opposite. Help!
About us: we cook almost every day, but we've always dealt with low-end ranges in rental units. We make jam, beer, can tomato sauce, you name it. The 36" will be a dream for our big canning pots. But we simply can't afford the Capital or a blue star.
Looking forward to the wisdom of the group. We need to make a decision quickly. Thanks!