The Sierra Foothills were first famous for gold, but the appellation is now considered a highlight of California wine country. The Gold Rush, beginning in 1849, brought thousands of diggers and dreamers to the area. Vines, mostly Zinfandel, were planted to produce wine for the thirsty miners, and in time more than 100 wineries existed in this cool, craggy region. But the waning of the Gold Rush, and Prohibition, signaled a halt to the production of Sierra Foothills wine for many years.
The red Barbera grape is grown throughout Italy, but the Piedmont region, at the foot of the Alps, produces the most celebrated Barbera wines, including Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti. Traditionally, Barbera exhibits sour cherry and other red fruit flavors, light tannins, high acidity and medium body. When aged in oak, Barbera gains body and complexity.
Classic Barbera food pairings include Italian cuisine, especially beef dishes and tomato-based sauces.