Barbera, a traditionally Italian variety, has found its way to several other countries. Each country with its unique climates offers different flavours and intensity. Whether you prefer the lighter, traditional style, or the fuller, fruiter new world style, we highly recommend indulging in this wine this holiday!
What is Barbera
Barbera is still largely easier drinking, light red wine that can accompany the easiest lunches or dinners. This variety is naturally high in acidity and low in tannin – making it a more appealing option for everyday drinking.
Most of Italy’s Barbera is grown in the region of Piedmont, in northern parts of Italy. It is also the country’s third most planted grape variety and is known to produce high yields.
Barberas produced in Italy display notes of strawberry and cherry, even though the wine is often almost black-purple. Most Barberas from Italy also have prominent dried herb, lavender, violets and clove aromas.
These wines are considered light-bodied, elegant with low tannins.
New World Barbera
The popularity of Barbera was seen outside of Europe, and so soon other, new world wine countries started planting the variety.
California has grown the variety since the 1880s, and the appreciation for this wine rapidly grew. Today, California is the second-largest producers of this variety in the world!
The new-world style is vastly different than traditional Italian styles, largely because of the vastly different climates. California’s hot climates allow the berries to ripen and accumulate a lot more sugars than in Italy. The result is a full-bodied wine with a lot more fruitiness than the Italian style.
With these wines, expect flavours of cherries, raspberries, vanilla, caramel, blackberries and slight perfume notes.
So which one should I choose?
Both old-world and new-world Barbera wines are absolutely stunning, and each style has a place in this world. If you’re looking for big, bold, fruity wines, try Barberas from California or Australia. If you’re looking for softer, elegant and more complex wines, opt for the traditional Italian Barbera. Both these styles are perfect for having in the evening with friends and family, celebrating the holidays and enjoying some unique varieties.
Pairing Barbera with food
Barbera is a great wine to pair with food – which is exactly what the holidays are based around. The complexity of flavours and high acidity makes it the perfect wine to have with a variety of different dishes.
For a thanksgiving treat, pair your turkey with a traditional, Italian Barbera. The soft tannins will ensure it matches the weight of the meat and in no way overwhelms the food. The wine’s structure and acidity makes it the perfect wine to have with turkey, and as the wine to sip after dinner.
The other great thing about Barbera and food is that it matches any mushroom-based meal. For any vegetarians who want to share the experience, this wine can offer with a meal, opt for anything with a heavy mushroom presence.
Drinking Barbera this holiday should be a no-brainer. It is the perfect food wine and some styles offer a perfect, simple drinking wine. Whatever your style of choice, ensure its your red wine of choice this holiday!
(2014). From VinePair: https://vinepair.com/wine-101/learn-barbera-red-wine/
(2017). From Decanter: https://www.decanter.com/learn/match-barbera-wines-food-381319/
Ziliani, F. (2003). From Wine Business: https://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/?go=getArticleSignIn&dataId=29795