2/20/10

Barbera…The New Hot Wine?


There is a growing cadre of Barbera fans among wine drinkers lately. To be honest, I am not exactly sure why. There was no movie made about it…no hit song…no international news story.

Regardless, let’s take a look at this wonderful Italian varietal…

The earliest record of Barbera dates back to documents in the 1200s. The Piedmont province in the Northwestern corner of Italy tends to be Barbera’s most famous home and is the regions most widely planted grape. In fact, depending on whom you believe, Barbera is currently the 2nd or 3rd most widely planted grape in all of Italy. Over the years Barbera vines have found their way to Australia, Argentina and California where fine examples can be found. The grape itself is relatively easy to grow with high yields and excellent soil adaptability.

And now a few notes on the wine itself. Generally you will find a medium-bodied wine with a deep ruby color, mild tannins and pronounced acidity. Hints of raspberry and blackberry tend to be present in the flavor profile along with vanilla and spice notes if the wine was oaked. Barberas made in older “neutral” wine barrels may display more cherry flavors and aromas.

As far as food pairings, I will point you to anything with tomato sauce (of course), grilled meats and vegetables and stews. The bottom line here is that Barbera is generally very food friendly and there isn’t too much out there you can’t pair it with.

Now it’s time to open a bottle and sample for yourself. Pick up a nice bottle o’ Barbera and let me know what you think. Need a recommendation to try? You know who to contact…

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