Learn about Barbera — taste profile, popular regions and more ...
Friendly, approachable and full of juicy red fruit, Barbera produces wines in a wide range of styles, from youthful, fresh and fruity to serious, structured and age-worthy. Piedmont is the most famous source of Barbera, but it is also planted in a few nearby Italian provinces and remains one of the most widely planted varieties in the country. Barbera actually can adapt to many climates and enjoys success in California—particularly in the Sierra Foothills—and some southern hemisphere wine regions.
Tasting Notes for Barbera
Barbera is a dry, red wine typically marked by flavors of red cherry, raspberry or blackberry. Warmer sites produce Barberas with intensely ripe fruit and complex notes of cocoa, savory spice, anise and nutmeg. Cooler sites will produce a lighter Barbera with more finesse and intriguing notes of cranberry, graphite, smoke, lavender and violet.
Perfect Food Pairings for Barbera
Barbera’s prominent acidity makes it a natural match with tomato-based dishes, so it an easy pairing with a wide array of Italian cuisine. It works just as well with lighter red meat dishes, hamburgers or barbecue.
Sommelier Secrets for Barbera
In the past it wasn’t common or even accepted to age Barbera in oak but today both styles—oaked and unoaked—abound, at least in Piedmont. In fact, many Piedmontese producers today still make a deliciously pure, fruity and unoaked version, intended for earlier consumption. The wine world didn't realize Barbera's potential until Giacomo Bologna's debut of the barrique-aged Barbera called Bricco dell’Uccellone in Asti in the 1960s. Many of the better bottlings of Piemontese Barbera can age gracefully for 10-15 years or more.