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.
There are few countries in the world with a viticultural history as long or as illustrious as that claimed by Italy. Grapes were first being grown and cultivated on Italian soil several thousand years ago by the Greeks and the Pheonicians, who named Italy 'Oenotria' – the land of wines – so impressed were they with the climate and the suitability of the soil for wine production. Of course, it was the rise of the Roman Empire which had the most lasting influence on wine production in Italy, and their influence can still be felt today, as much of the riches of the empire came about through their enthusiasm for producing wines and exporting it to neighbouring countries. Since those times, a vast amount of Italian land has remained primarily for vine cultivation, and thousands of wineries can be found throughout the entire length and breadth of this beautiful country, drenched in Mediterranean sunshine and benefiting from the excellent fertile soils found there. Italy remains very much a 'land of wines', and one could not imagine this country, its landscape and culture, without it.