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Barbera wine is grown in the Piedmont region in northern Italy.
The largest areas where Barbera is grown is around the cities of Alba and Asti, it is also grown south of Asti in the hills of Monferrato.
Barbera used to be the most popular grape in Italy. That all changed when Chianti became famous as “Italy’s wine,” and now Sangiovese grapes have taken over.
If you are just getting into Italian red wine, Barbera is worth a try. Barbera is a fruity wine that allows you to ease yourself into Italian wine. It is one of the easiest to drink of all the wines of the Piedmont. It is medium bodied with less tannins than other Piedmont wines like Barolo or Barbaresco.
Flavors and Aromas of Barbera
Standard aromas and flavors for Barbera are ripe berries, plum and spices.
Each region in the Piedmont makes their Barbera a little differently, so be sure to take a look at all the differences and explore each to your heart’s content — especially since there is so much talk about which area makes the best Barbera. Why not find out for yourself?
Barbera d’Alba grows around the city of Alba, in Piedmont. It is a famous place for Barolo and Barbaresco as well, which are the big names in Piedmont wine, so Barbera competes with Nebbiolo for vineyard space in Alba.
Generally, these wines are concentrated with lots of red fruit flavors that balance well with the acidity in the wine.
Famous Barbera d’Alba makers include:
Massolino, which has made a tremendous Barbera d’Alba. It is deep purple and has aromas of fruit, flavors of the same. They are fresh and nicely balanced. This is an easy to drink wine.
Luciano Sandrone’s Barbera wine is bright and fruity. It has aromas of flowers, spices, coffee and licorice.
Borgogno Barbera d’Alba Superiore is bright and has a beautiful fruity, oaky aroma. The flavors are dry with a full body. The 2011 vintage is ready to drink now through 2017.
Barbera d’Asti is made around the city of Asti in Piedmont. It is less intense than Barbera d’Alba. It is considered to be the standard, traditional style of Barbera wine. It is usually enjoyed when it is young, although there are some specially vintages and bottlings that can be aged.
Coppo L’Avvocata Barbera d’Asti is a bright red color. This Barbera wine offers you the typical intense fruity aromas and full-bodied, fruity, spicy flavors of Barbera d’Asti.
The 2010 vintage of La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca Di Pian is a single vineyard wine, where less than 1,000 cases were made. This Barbera wine is bright red with purple highlights. The aromas are complex with berris, plum and a hint of spices. The flavors are a beautifully complex balance of fruit and acid. This wine will be absolutely delicious in 2020 - 2025.
Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti is a deep red color. It is medium bodied and has aromas and flavors of berries, spices and herbs.
Renato Ratti Barbera d’Asti is a bright red color and has aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and a hint of spices.
Barbera di Monferrato
Barbera di Monferrato is a light, fruity wine. Some versions have a slight fizz to them, which adds to the delight. This wine is made in the Monferrato hills south of the city of Asti.
The Marchesi di Barolo Maraia Barbera di Monferrato is a beautiful deep red color. It has aromas of berries and fruit and hints of oak. The flavors are the same and are full-bodied and complex.
Pairing Barbera Wine
Now we get to the best part. What to eat with Barbera wine! The best part just so happens to also be the easiest part, because Barbera wine pairs well with so many things. Try it with pasta (white or red sauce), pizza, braised and roasted meats, ribs, kebabs and hearty cheeses. This wine is also light enough to enjoy as an aperitif, so you can have it with appetizers.