Italy is known for producing a wide variety of exceptional wines, and one grape variety that often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves is Barbera. While Sangiovese and Nebbiolo are the more famous Italian red wine grapes, Barbera has its own unique characteristics and charm. In this article, we will explore the underrated wines made from Italy’s Barbera grape and discover why they are worth seeking out.
The Characteristics of Barbera Wines
Barbera wines are known for their high acidity and low tannins, making them incredibly food-friendly options. They typically have a medium to full body and a rich, dark color. The flavors and aromas of Barbera wines can vary depending on the region where they are produced, but common notes include red and black fruits, such as cherries and blackberries, as well as herbal undertones and a hint of spice.
The Regions Producing Barbera Wines
Barbera grapes are primarily grown in the northern regions of Italy, particularly in Piedmont and Lombardy. In Piedmont, the Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato are the most renowned appellations for this grape variety. These wines are known for their vibrant acidity and rich fruit flavors, with some producers aging their Barbera wines in oak barrels to add complexity and depth.
Outside of Piedmont, Barbera is also grown in the regions of Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. Lombardy’s Oltrepò Pavese region produces Barbera wines that exhibit a balance of freshness and structure, while in Emilia-Romagna, the Barbera wines have a brighter acidity and a more pronounced cherry character.
Food Pairings with Barbera Wines
Due to their high acidity and versatility, Barbera wines pair well with a wide range of dishes. They are particularly fantastic with Italian cuisine, such as pasta dishes, tomato-based sauces, and cured meats. The acidity of the wine helps to cut through the richness of the food, creating a harmonious balance on the palate.
Barbera wines also complement grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and hard cheeses. The acidity acts as a palate cleanser, making each bite feel refreshed. If you are a fan of pizza, Barbera is an excellent choice to enjoy alongside your favorite slice.
Discovering the Beauty of Barbera Wines
Despite being overlooked by some wine enthusiasts, Barbera wines offer an incredible value for money. They are typically priced lower than their more well-known counterparts like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, making them accessible to a wider audience.
If you enjoy wines that are fruit-forward, food-friendly, and showcase a balanced acidity, Barbera is a grape variety worth exploring. Whether you choose a Barbera d’Asti from Piedmont or a Barbera from Lombardy or Emilia-Romagna, the wines made from Italy’s Barbera grape will surely impress and delight your palate.
So, don’t underestimate the beauty and quality of Barbera wines. They deserve a place on your wine shelf and a spot at your dinner table.