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At a glance

Country of Origin: Italy
Region of Origin: Piedmont
Typical Product: Red
Structure: Medium
Climate: Hot, Dry
Soil Type: Calcareous/Clay Loam
Serving Temp: 57 - 61F
Ageability: 2 to 5
Sauces to Pair:
Meals to Pair:
Other Names*:


Barbera is either second or third most common grape in Italy behind only Sangiovese and possibly Montepulciano.  Its acreage is quite close to Montepulciano, hence the confusion over whether it is second or third most planted.  Although its origins lie in Piedmont, it's now grown all over Italy.  Barbera is mentioned as far back as the mid 13th century in leasing agreements which indicates that it was prevalent for quite some time before then.  UC Davis sites the first plantings in California in 1884 although it also came over with Italian immigrants and was one of the most widely planted Varietals for much of California's winemaking history.  The majority was planted in the Central Valley and was used for jug wine.

In Piedmont, Barbera is generally regarded slightly below Nebbiolo but with considerably more favor than Dolcetto.  If Nebbiolo were the standout and Dolcetto, the light drinking but often-dismissed Varietal, Barbera would be the everyday wine  - worthy of note and sometimes excellent but not the 'favorite son'.  It is a bit of a chameleon, in that it can produce immense variation from a medium bodied wine with lots of fruit to a higher alcohol, heavy bodied wine designed to be laid down for a number of years.  Part of that variability comes from its unusual character for a red Varietal.  It has low tannins but high acid.  The acid can often be managed in the vineyard but tannins cannot, hence Barbera's preference for oak aging, which can add tannins that aren't naturally occurring in the fruit.

Barbera is a very vigorous producer and needs aggressive trimming and dropping of fruit to insure enough intensity to impart flavor to the fruit.  If forced to struggle in relatively barren soil, it will produce better quality grapes.  It has a propensity to over ripen in warm climates, which can create a wine that is often described as jammy or raisiny.

* used in California

Show Me Wineries That Are Selling This Wine With Expanded Listings On

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Name Vintage Year Price Tasting Comments
2007  $30.00   
Vino Noceto
2009  $28.00  Linsteadt 
2008  $25.00  Private Reserve 
Eberle Winery
2009  $28.00   
Dobra Zemlja Winery
2010  $26.00   
Bray Vineyards
2010  $18.00  Barbera Rosato 
Bray Vineyards
2009  $22.00   
Karmere Vineyards & Winery
  $26.91  Empress Julie Ann Barbera 
2010  $24.00  Barbera Reposado 
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