The Barbera grape variety is the most widespread and most cultivated grape variety in Piedmont with very ancient roots. In the municipal archive of the municipality of Nizza Monferrato, which is considered the birthplace of the Barbera grape variety, Barbera wine was mentioned as early as 1609. With the advent of smallholder property in the 19th century, viticulture in Piedmont received a strong boost.
Today, the Barbera grape variety is cultivated on approximately 18,000 hectares and the cultivation zone covers a large number of municipalities throughout the province. The significant designations of origin are :
Barbera D'Asti DOCG, Nice DOCG, Barbera D'Alba DOC and Barbera del Monferrato DOC
Barbera was mainly cultivated at that time because the yield was relatively large and with a good yield of must.The wine was also very high in alcohol, intense in color and the high content of Acid made storage easier. The importance of the grape variety became even greater when it was recognized at the end of the 19th century as a grape variety with strong vigour, which was also able to resist phylloxera. This has made Barbera the quintessential Piedmontese grape, and with it the wine of the day with every meal.
The grape variety is not "global". The best oenological results come from southern Piedmont, where complex, full-bodied wines with lots of structure are made from the grape. The grape variety ripens relatively late, between the end of September and mid-October. It needs a lot of warmth, tolerates drought well, has high fertility, few tannins and a lot of acidity.
The grapes are medium-sized, the berries are slightly oval and rich in sugar. Finding the right time to harvest is one of the decisive factors for the quality of the grapes. In well-situated vineyards, a high sugar content in the grapes is reached relatively early. However, it is necessary to wait with the harvest in order to obtain a reduction in acidity and a complete maturation of the tannins, the grape seeds and the skins.
Up until the 1980's, Piedmontese Barbera wine was considered a typical country wine. But with the changing wine market and a more developed awareness of superior quality wines, most winemakers have turned this vision into reality. This leap in quality was achieved, among other things, through improved practices in the vineyard and lower yields. In addition, the Barbera wine gets a wonderful balance through the aging in oak barrels.
The Barbera wine has thus gained the ability, even after many years of storage, to confirm the original characteristics of a landscape and a grape variety of great value.