Guide to the Barbera Red Wine Grape
Italy’s most widely planted and adaptable grape, Barbera [Bar-BEAR-Ah] excels in Asti and the Alba regions of Piedmont. Straightforward and easy drinking, this wine typifies the Italian ideology that wine is meant to be consumed with meals and with a minimum of fuss and bother. Red fruits dominate this light-bodied wine. Most wines take the name of the village or province in which the grapes were grown as a suffix to the wine’s name, for example, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato and Barbera d’Alba. When labeled as simply “Barbera,” the wine may be from anywhere.This versatile Italian red grape variety generally produces lighter style wines with cherry and raspberry fruit flavors and aromas, intermingled with rustic spice. A lovely crispness from the acidity creates a red which is ideal with food. Barbera is capable of producing medium- to full-bodied wines when aged in oak barrels, but the majority are made in the fresh and fruity, easy-drinking style with soft tannins. Barbera thrives on the rolling hillsides surrounding the villages of Asti and Alba within the Piedmont. Try this versatile red slightly chilled as an aperitif or with lighter fare. The oak-aged Barbera will rival many Barolos and should be consumed with fuller flavored red meat dishes.
Grape Type: Barbera
Aromas: Raspberry and cherry
Flavors: Cherry, strawberry with a hint of some darker fruits such as blueberry and plum
Styles: Fresh Fruit / Easy Drinking. Light in body, simple, fresh and bright with high acid and low tannins. Enjoy this wine a few degrees cooler than the heavier reds, and they are best consumed young. These Barberas rarely see oak aging. Intense fruit/ripe tannins. The oak aging increases the body and adds smoky notes.
Food Pairings: The slightly sweet overtones, light to medium body and acidity blend well with the tomato-based sauces for which Italian food is famous, such as pizza, pasta in marinara sauce and antipasto dishes.