Barbera is a red wine grape from Piedmont in Italy. It used to be the most commonly planted grape variety in Italy until it was surpassed by Sangiovese. In most of Italy it turns out ordinary wines but in the Alba and Asti regions it can make something special.
This fortnight’s wine is an example. Barbara is a curious grape in that unlike almost all other red wine varieties it has very little tannin. Some makers age Barbara in oak to give it some tannin. This can be problematic. I usually am not a fan of oak aged Barbara. When done right, as in this case, it gives not just tannin but some extra finesse and structure to the wine. The wine has some nice fruity flavors which are balanced by the natural acidity as well as the tannins from the oak. This makes it a bigger and more complex wine.
Most Barbera’s are food friendly wines and this one is no exception. It would go well with pizza or pasta but also has the oomph to hold up to red meat dishes like lamb or steak. I would particularly enjoy it with a grilled veal chop.
At under $15 a bottle it is a real bargain. Enjoy.