For centuries now, the beautiful red grapes of the Barbera varietal have been grown in Italy, where they are prized for their unusual high acid content and low tannins, brought about by their thin skins. The Barbera grape varietal thrives in warmer climates, and has had some success overseas in the new world, where its strongly aromatic flavors of intense hedgerow fruits make it a favorite with wineries and wine drinkers looking for a grape which offers plenty of interesting characteristics. Interestingly, the differences between young and aged wines made from this varietal are quite significant, with younger bottles holding a plethora of berry flavors, including blueberry and raspberry notes, and oak aged wines made from the Barbera grape being much loved for their ability to become extremely complex and spicy, and picking up vanilla flavors from the wood they are barreled in. Situated in the north-western part of Italy, the region of Piedmont is known worldwide and is highly respected for the quality of the wines produced there. Many of the most successful sub-regions in Piedmont produce many of the world's finest red wines, such as those made from the excellent Nebbiolo grape varietal in areas such as Barolo and Barbaresco. However, the historic wineries which typify this region use a relatively wide variety of grapes, including Dolcetto and Barbera for their red wines, which are typically aged and have a delightful velvety character. Piedmont isn't all about beautifully complex red wines, though, as it is also famed for high quality, elegant sparkling wines, notably the Asti wines made with the white Moscato grape. The region benefits from a range of terroirs which are often well expressed in the sparkling wines, and a wonderfully consistent climate ideal for vineyard cultivation.
Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety and it is most widely planted grape in Piemonte, where it is grown in a number of Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOCs), such as BARBERA d' ALBA and BARBERA d' ASTI, high-quality growing regions where varieties and yields are regulated by the government. Long considered distinctly inferior to Nebbiolo, Barbera is growing in reputation, with some renditions challenging the best of Barolo and Barberesco. Know for having a dark color, low tannins and high acidity, this combination makes for a wine that has big flavor with intense fruit on the nose. These wines are also built for long term aging. Dark berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries are what you will find on the nose and depending on the winemakers these wine run the gamut from lightly oaked and fruity to a toasted vanilla character along with the fruit. The wines from more heavily toasted barrels have deeper layers of complexity and allow for longer aging. The wines from less oaked barrels provide the drinker with a more fruit forward wine that are designed to drink now.
Barbera's are a food friendly wine and they should be on your list of wines to try.