Barbera is a grape from the Piedmont, Northern Italy. It is the most widely-planted black in the regions of Asti and Alba. It is considered a “youthful” wine, which means it can be immediately consumed and enjoyed young without long periods of aging. However, there are expressions of the wine that undergo barrel and/or bottle aging, allowing the aromas and flavors to develop more complex characteristics.
This grape has high acidity, medium to high alcohol, and low to medium tannin levels. Its primary flavors are red fruit- red cherry, red plum, strawberry, and raspberries. Young expressions are light, fruity, and juicy with an intense presence of primary fruit flavors. Barbera wines that are aged in oak also develop vanilla, nutmeg, and baking spice notes. Good vintages can be aged for up to 15 years, where they develop additional tertiary flavors.
Barbera d’ Asti
Premium expressions of Barbera are produced in the hilly areas of the Barbera d’ Asti DOCG region, the highest quality classification received. Here, a minimum of 90% of Barbera must be used in wines under the DOCG label. Furthermore, these wines cannot be released before March 1st following the harvest, and must have at lest 12% ABV. This DOCG quality stipulation also requires 6 months of oak-aging, which adds to the complexity of this fine-wine.
Barbera pairs well with a number of dishes due to its high acidity. It can be enjoyed along prosciutto, hearty stews, red-sauce pasta dishes, and risotto. It also compliments savory flavors like mushrooms, truffle and blue cheeses. The grape pairs well with light cream sauces, peppers, root vegetables, herbs and even salmon.
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