What to Know About Barbera

What to Know About Barbera

What to know about Barbera

One of the wines we featured for the Wine Club this month is the Lavignone Barbera d'Asti from PIedmont region of Northern Italy. Several Wine Club members were not familiar with Barbera (bar-Bear-eh) as a grape or as a wine so I'd like to tell you a bit about it. 

Barbera is the third most widely planted grape in Italy. It is especially prominent in the Piedmont area around Turn where the Olympics took place about 10 years ago.  Barbera appears on almost every restaurant table at suppertime all over Piedmont because it goes well with most Italian food and especially pasta in red sauce. 

The origin of Barbera is not known but it first appears in catalogs of Italian grapes compiled in the 18th century. It has been said that the Barbera grape mimics the character of the Piedmontese farmers who grow it: unassuming yet robust. Barbera produces strong, rustic and generous wines that are juicy, and straightforwardly delicious. The wine, while very dark in color, is actually quite light in taste. Barbera has flavors of cherries, strawberries and raspberries , and when young can have intense aromas of blackberries as well. 

Serve Barbera at cool room temperature. The fruitiness and acidity of Barbera makes it an ideal companion with seasoned foods such as beef or lamb prepared in a Mediterranean style or with hearty pasta dishes. Because it is rustic and unassuming, jt goes well with simple dishes. One of my favorite pairings with Barbera is pizza with a bit of truffle oil drizzled on top. Barbera also has a great affinity for garlic so if you ever have the Italian dish Bagna Cauda, uncork a Barbera to serve as a perfect match for this Italian peasant dish. 

*** Additional Info about Barbera by our favorite wine educator, Wine Folly