Barbera wine is the third most grown red type in Italy. Overshadowed for years by more popular Italian reds, this type is now making a name for itself.
Plantings are increasing as other regions also want to see how successful it grows in their region.
Discover its history and the flavors and aromas to expect from it. You will also identify the best regions that grow Barbera grapes and tips for storing, serving and purchasing.
As with many other reds, the history of this one has some mystery surrounding it. However, most official accounts state that it originated in the Monferrato area in the central Piedmont wine region in northwest Italy. The records date back to the mid-1200s.
For many years in Italy, it was thought of as low quality. Royals and other wealthy individuals did not see the value of it, so it remained as a 'common persons' drink for many years.
It finally made its way out of Italy around the early 1900s. Italian immigrants brought it with them when they moved to the US. They planted it soon after their arrival.
Scandal rocked the reputation of it in Italy in the mid-1980s. Producers added methyl alcohol, also known as Methanol, to these wines. They were trying to boost the alcohol level in low quality, lighter bodied Barbera wines.
Authorities arrested more than a dozen wine makers. In all, around thirty people died and several more lost their sight due to methanol poisoning. This scandal damaged Italy's wine industry and this red's reputation.
This one grows best in warmer climates. The grapes also ripen later in the season than most other types of red wine.
It has a deep ruby red color. It is a low tannin red and has a high level of acidity when ripened.
Barbera grapes produce medium to full bodied varieties. They are full of cherry flavors. You will also taste hints of blueberry, blackberry, plum and other fruits.
This type is frequently a blending grape to soften it out just a little. Italian wine makers like to blend it with Nebbiolo wine.
The reduction in yields of Barbera grapes turned it into one of the most popular wines in Italy over the last decade or so. Almost every region in the country grows some.
Although the scandal scared wine lovers, that memory is fading. It is now making a name for itself as a high quality Italian variety.
Piedmont, the famous region in the northwest part of Italy, produces the highest quality Barbera. Two names to look for are Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba. Both of these are high quality regions within Piedmont and produce some of the best Barberas on the market.
Serve it slightly below room temperature at around 60° to 62° F (15° to 17° C).
The less expensive ones typically do not age well. It is best to drink them right away - or around 2 to 5 years after the vintage date. If you purchase a heavier, more expensive one, you can age it for a couple of years before enjoying it.
Since it is popular in Italy, you could probably guess that it pairs well with a number of great Italian dishes. The high acidity means it pairs well with many tomato sauce dishes.
Here are just a few of the types of dishes that pair well with wines from Barbera grapes:
You will also want to serve these in a standard red wine glass. There are several options available.
Amazon has a great selection of glasses that range from very affordable to some of the highest end glasses on the market today. Find top rated red wine glasses on Amazon today!
Prices for this Italian red wine range from around $10 to $70 or more a bottle. You will find most around $20 to $30 a bottle. This is a great type for those looking for wines to pair with typical Italian meals. You can also enjoy it on its own.
Distribution of it is increasing so it is more readily available than ever before. You should be able to find a good Barbera wine in your local store. You can also check out the selection of some of the top Barbera wines online.
If you like Italian wines or are looking for something new, a Barbera wine is a great choice. With its tangy, cherry flavors, it is yet another enjoyable option.
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