Barbera (bar-Bear-uh) is a dark-skinned, red wine grape that is considered to be Nebbiolo’s baby brother. Its wines are juicy and relatively light-bodied despite its bold, deep purple color. Barbera grapes are used both in blended wines and single varietals. Its low tannins, moderate alcohol and high acidity produce extremely drinkable wines. If unoaked and aged in stainless steel, Barbera wine has a sour cherry, anise and herbal notes. The acid complements the natural cherry flavor found in Barbera wines and maintains the tangy and bright flavors. As the wine ages from oak interaction, the flavors can become richer.
Look for flavors like mocha, chocolate or raisins. Other dominant flavors include sour cherries, dried strawberry, licorice, black pepper, lavender, blackberry, mulberry, plum, mocha, tobacco, smoke and tar.
The Barbera grape is naturally high in acid and can be produced in warmer climates like California or Argentina, albeit Italy is where it has earned its reputation for producing outstanding wines. Well known Italian regions for producing Barbera wine include Piedmont, North Coast and Mendoza Valley.
Barbera is Italy's third most-commonly planted red wine grape, after Sangiovese and Montepulciano .
Old World Barbera Wine
Italian Barbera wines are lighter in style and have a tart herbal flavor. Northern Italy has several producing regions Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Campania and even the island regions, Sicily and Sardinia. Though Barbera is planted throughout Italy, the best examples hail from Piedmont’s Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba.
New World Barbera Wine
California has several amazing vineyards of Barbera. New world Barbera wines are more full-bodied and fruit-forward. The wine in this region is higher in alcohol with more fruit flavors. Central Valley and Sierra Foothills are making some great juice.
Other names to look for when exploring Barbera wine includes Barbera d'Asti, Barbera Dolce, Barbera Fine, Barbera Forte, Barbera Grossa, Barbera Riccia and Barbera Vera.
Barbera wine is extremely food-friendly. It pairs best with Rabbit, Chicken Livers, Duck Noodle Soup, Herb Crusted Lamb, Filipino food, Sweetbreads, Lamb Ragu, Game Meats, Elk, Sausage, Root Vegetables and Pasta.
The wine should be served is a large, oversized red wine glass and has a shelf life of about five years. The average price of a bottle can be unto $15 average but can get pricier depending on the region.
Carpe Travel collaborated with Maia Parish to compile the grape varietal overviews. Maia Parish is an award-winning events producer, sommelier, wine judge, and media consultant. She lives in Denver, Colorado and likes to eat copious amounts of food. You can find her here www.linktr.ee/thewinemistress.