Barbera - from rustic everyday wine to high quality predicate wine
Barbera red wines are among the most popular fine wines produced in Piedmont. In Langhe, some of the best Barolo and Barbaresco producers make high-quality Barbera wines, while in Monferrato there are many wineries specializing in this grape variety. It is native to the region and was first documented in the 17th century.
The fact that Barbera is now one of the best red wines in Italy is due to a constant increase in quality from everyday to predicate wine, which the Piedmontese winemakers have driven forward with great commitment over the past decades. Here in the Babarolo online store we offer wine connoisseurs and all those who want to become one, high-quality Barbera at attractive prices.
A grape variety steeped in history
The home of Barbera is Monferrato, in the heart of Piedmont. It is highly probable that the grape variety was already cultivated here at the end of the Middle Ages. The first mention is considered to be a land registry document of the municipality of Chieri, near Turin, dating back to 1512, but the first confirmed historical evidence does not go beyond the 17th century: in a document kept in the town hall of Nice Monferrato, in the province of Asti, this variety is mentioned for the first time. Over the centuries, Barbera spread throughout Italy and also found its way to California and Argentina through emigrants in the 19th century.
The grape variety ripens relatively late, between the end of September and mid-October. It needs a lot of warmth, tolerates drought well, is very fertile, has little tannin and a lot of acidity. The grapes are of medium size, the berries are slightly oval and rich in sugar. For a pleasing quality, the right time of harvest is crucial. In well-located vineyards, the optimal sugar content is reached early in the wine year. However, it is necessary to wait with the harvest in order to reduce the acidity and obtain a complete maturation of the tannins, the grape seeds and the skins.
Barbera achieves its best oenological results in southern Piedmont, where complex, full-bodied wines with plenty of structure are vinified. Today, some 18,000 hectares are planted in the region - more than a third of Piedmont's total vineyard area. And not only that: after Sangiovese, Barbera is the most widely cultivated grape variety in Italy.
Why you must try Barbera
As the most widespread and widely cultivated grape variety in Piedmont - 90% of the world's stock is grown here - Barbera is without question one of Italy's most important red wine grapes. Its name is as familiar to most wine lovers as that of Barolo or Barbaresco. And today it undoubtedly stands for first-class dry red wines from Piedmont that you must know! Learn more below about two reasons that speak for Barbera red wine: the special taste and the world-famous growing region.
Barbera is characterized by a pronounced acidity and lower tannins than other red wines of Piedmont. We have carefully selected the Babarolo range for well-bound acidity, freshness and depth of flavor. Typical of Barbera red wines are aromas of red and black fruits such as cherries, plums and black currants, but also earthy notes as well as violets, pepper and vanilla. The noble drops are very high in alcohol, complex, full-bodied and rich in color.
Unique growing area
Barbera is grown throughout the Piedmont region. There are great differences between the wines, which makes them so interesting. In the Langhe, Barbera is cultivated alongside the Nebbiolo vineyards and is characterized by a fine structure with a balance of minerals and acidity. In the flatter and hotter Monferrato region, particularly around the town of Nice Monferrato and the municipality of Agliano Terme, the Barbera grape reaches its full potential and develops into a round, full and complex wine.
Barbera can hold its own on any table next to wines twice as expensive and famous. This is where the beautiful characteristics of the grape variety come into their own. The area around Nice Monferrato is particularly famous for high quality Barbera. Producers who focus on high quality are now producing a "Nizza" there in a defined growing area, a DOCG designation of origin for Barbera with strict growing and aging regulations. Do not miss this pleasure!
The most important designations of origin for Barbera red wines from Piedmont include the following:
Barbera D'Asti DOCG,
Barbera D'Alba DOC and
Barbera del Monferrato DOC.
The most important facts about Barbera at a glance
Wine style: always dry
Grape variety: 100% Barbera
Color: deep red
Tannin: complex, round
Bouquet: harmonious, elegant
Aromas: cherries, plums, blackcurrants, pepper, violets, vanilla
Tannin content: low
Alcohol content: at least 12% by volume
Ideal serving temperature: 16 to 18 °C
How the quality leap from country wine to top product was achieved
Because the vines are very vigorous, high-yielding and adaptable, Barbera became an important part of a booming market in the 1970s and 1980s that focused mainly on inexpensive bulk wine. Acreage was huge, and Barbera long had a reputation as a second-rate grape. The Italian methanol scandal ended this period in which quality played only a subordinate role. In the 1990s, a rethinking began and a movement for a new high-quality Barbera was formed.
Careful vineyard management, targeted acid reduction and aging in oak barrels have made it possible to produce much stronger, fuller and more aromatically complex Barbera red wines. Advanced technology in the vineyard and cellar, sustainable viticulture and yield reduction have steadily improved the quality over the past decades. Many Barbera wines are a real alternative to the highly decorated Nebbiolo wines and convince with an excellent price-performance ratio.
Would you like to get to know more top wines from Piedmont? Then we recommend you the first-class products from the Nebbiolo grape variety: Barolo wines , Barbaresco wines and Roero wines.
Order high quality Barbera red wines online at Babarolo
You will find here in the exquisite assortment of the Babarolo online store first-class Barbera red wines at fair prices. What is particularly important to us: we receive the noble drops directly from the local winemakers. In this way, we support sustainable artisanal production, which the small family businesses pursue with great passion. In this way we can offer you the best products of the region, which stand for the traditional values of the Piedmontese (wine) culture. See also our wine offers to benefit from special conditions on selected last bottles or wine packages!
Buying Barbera: common questions and their answers
Should Barbera wines be decanted?
Yes, it is recommended to decant high quality Barbera red wines. This allows the wine to come into contact with oxygen, which can help bring out the full depth of its aromas and flavors.
How long should a good Barbera be stored?
A high quality Barbera from a top vineyard and a good vintage can have an aging potential of 10 or more years. However, it is important to pay attention to storage conditions to ensure that the wine is not affected by light, heat or vibration.
What dishes go well with Barbera?
Barbera is ideal as a partner for hearty dishes. Dark meats, game and mushrooms are true classics. Popular combinations include grilled steaks or lamb chops with a sauce of fresh aromatic herbs such as rosemary, braised venison or duck breast with a mushroom ragout. Vegetarian dishes and risottos of all kinds, for example with roasted eggplant and Parmesan, or a vegetable lasagna are also deliciously complemented by the berry aroma of a Barbera.