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Bountiful Barbera

January 31st, 2014 by Alan A. Barone

Native to the Piemonte region in Italy, Barbera was transported to much of the new world by Italian immigrants that planted the grape in California, along with Australia and Argentina. The Piemonte may be famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, but the residents of this foot of the mountain district in Northwestern Italy choose Barbera for their daily dinner table. Why? It’s Barbera’s genuine reputation as a fruity yet acidic, food-friendly wine at a reasonable price point. Also, Barbera is quite reliable in the vineyard, with its resistance to pests, disease, and mildew and therefore attractive to growers.

The grape is grown in many other Italian wine regions, as well. In fact, after Sangiovese and Montepulciano, Barbera is the third most planted grape in all of Italy. In the Piemonte, the area that it has resided for centuries, it is the most widely planted grape and accounts for over 50% of the annual DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) red wine production. In 1970, Italy created DOC regions and sub regions in Piemonte. The more notable wines are Barbera d’ Alba, Barbera d’ Asti and Barbera d’ Monferrato.

There are two primary winemaker types of Barbera: one that is made in the traditional method and the other the more contemporary method. The first is a more straightforward approach that produces a simple structure with typical low tannins and a lighter fruit character with tangy acidity. The newer vinification displays more intense fruit and density and relies on oak ageing to impart some tannins and tone down the grape’s natural acidity.

In the Wine Bar, we feature the more modern version of Barbera d’ Alba by the glass. A great match with Italian cuisine, such as: pastas with rich meat sauces, pizza, as well as roasted or grilled meats and hard cheeses.  I am certain that you will agree that this is an approachable, versatile wine. Salute!

2010 Batasiolo Barbera d’Alba DOC
Medium-bodied with aromas of berry pie and vanilla that open-up on the fine-tannin palate with blueberry, cherry and dried herb flavor notes that lead to a crisp, lively finish.

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