(bar-BARE-uh) Versatility of Italy
Barbara is one of those varieties of the old world that often appears on the label - Barbara d'Alba, Barbara d'Asti for example. Native to Piedmont, Barbara is a hardy grape that grows well in the chalky soils of the area. Though popular as a single varietal, Barbera also excels as a blending partner in both Italy and California.
Barbara is a versatile grape, once frequently used for blending because it can throw structure into a lighter wine and yet give softness to one that was overly tannic. It is now lauded as a sole variety for the same versatility. Pure Barbara wines from the Piedmont are rustic, as many Italian wines can be, but demonstrate round fruit flavors and zesty acidity that make it easy drinking upon release. The wine occasionally sees oak, and Barbara from a strong vintage and good winemaker can gain character with a few years of ageing. That said, most Barbara-based wines are ready upon release to show their bright fruit flavors, smooth tannins and structured acidity.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Northern Italy, Other Italy, Some California
Common Descriptors: black and red cherry, blackberry, spice, chocolate