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Barbera

Barbera is one of the most widespread and famous wines in Italy, and one of the great protagonists of the vast enological panorama of the Italian peninsula. Originally from Piedmont, in particular from the areas of Monferrato, Alba and Asti, it has spread with great success to Oltrepò Pavese, Emilia, southern Italy and the rest of the world. Traditionally regarded as a rustic and popular red wine, in recent years it has become synonymous with excellence and territorial typicality, also thanks to historic producers such as Giacomo Bologna of the Braida winery who, by ageing it in wood, have enhanced its qualities of complexity and structure together with its typical generosity and freshness. Alongside younger and more direct expressions, today labels of great quality and value are produced, with a long ageing potential.

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Barbera is one of the most widespread and famous wines in Italy, and one of the great protagonists of the vast enological panorama of the Italian peninsula. Originally from Piedmont, in particular from the areas of Monferrato, Alba and Asti, it has spread with great success to Oltrepò Pavese, Emilia, southern Italy and the rest of the world. Traditionally regarded as a rustic and popular red wine, in recent years it has become synonymous with excellence and territorial typicality, also thanks to historic producers such as Giacomo Bologna of the Braida winery who, by ageing it in wood, have enhanced its qualities of complexity and structure together with its typical generosity and freshness. Alongside younger and more direct expressions, today labels of great quality and value are produced, with a long ageing potential.

The History of the Barbera Vine

The Barbera vine is undoubtedly one of the protagonists of Piedmontese viticulture, among the most widely cultivated in the whole of Northern Italy. Despite its popularity and its appreciation by enologists and critics, it is only in recent years that we have been able to witness the growth of this variety. The first evidence of this grape is found in a manuscript written by Pier de' Crescenzi of Bologna in 1304, entitled Liber Ruralium Commodorum, in which the author praises a type of grape called 'Grisa' with a black colour, not too intense, which was cultivated in the area around Asti. In 1609, Doctor Arturo Besano mentions it for the first time, and explains how the fame of this grape variety was also appreciated by the court of Mantua. At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, the grape expanded rapidly in the areas of Asti, Monferrato, Vercelli, Tortona and Novara. The wine obtained from it is enjoyed daily and is much appreciated for its expressive simplicity and freshness.

In 1798, Count Nuvolone, in his first paper on the ampelography of Piedmontese vines, described its characteristics as "a powerful wine, always rather rigorous, but rich in exquisite fragrance". At the end of the 19th century, Carducci even dedicated a poem to it: " Generous Barbera. / Drinking it we seem / to be alone at sea / challenging a storm", thus giving credit to the extraordinary popularity of this vine. It did not take long for it to spread outside the region, reaching the border between Lombardy and Emilia Romagna, all the way to Sardinia and Puglia. Its spread increased even more when Italy was invaded by the phylloxera disease. The red grape variety proved to be highly tolerant and, thanks to its high productivity, replaced many local vines.

Today it is experiencing a period of great rediscovery and valorisation, which, thanks to modern technology and brilliant enologists, has conquered the national market and crossed the borders of Italy, making itself appreciated for its qualities of freshness, directness and generosity.



The Characteristics

A native Italian variety, originating from the Piedmont soil, it contends with Sangiovese as the most widespread red grape, and has more than 50,000 hectares of vineyards. The grapes ripen quite late, two weeks after the great native Nebbiolo. The plant has a good adaptability to different types of soil and has a high yield, which has allowed it to spread all over the world. Its most important characteristic is undoubtedly its high acidity, a fundamental quality for ageing, which together with a young tannin makes it adaptable to any climate.

Traditionalists, such as Giuseppe Rinaldi and Bruno Giacosa, age it in large old barrels to emphasise the strength and vigour of the vine. Others, following the example of the great winemaker Giacomo Bologna of the Braida winery, use a more elegant and modern style, with ageing in new barriques. The result is a Barbera Superiore that is more structured and full-bodied, enhanced by the spicy and rounded hints due to the ageing in wood.



The Different Interpretations of the Territory

The historic areas are those of Monferrato, where it is thought to have originated. Here it assumes a profile of great simplicity, with marked acidity, in which the hint of young red fruit emerges.

In the Asti area, Barbera DOCG is more complex and structured; it is barrel-aged, the aroma becomes richer, the red fruit riper and the body softer and more enveloping. Proceeding towards Alba, in the Roero area, it grows on heavier soils composed of clay and limestone. Here Barbera DOC is more intense, the acidity is more contained and the aromatic range becomes broader. Pungent aromas of violets, plums, berries and black pepper emerge from a balanced, inviting texture with a long persistence.

Among the regions in which it is most widespread is Lombardy, more precisely the Oltrepò Pavese, where it is vinified alone to produce sparkling, lively and easy-drinking Barbera, or blended with Croatina and Uva Rara for more structured and intense results. In addition to Uva Rara we can also find it in the Colli Piacentini, in the extreme north of Emilia. The wines are more rustic, homemade, and with earthy tones. In southern Italy, it is well expressed in Puglia, where this southern terroir enriches the aroma and increases the alcohol content. In Sardinia, too, it offers great wines with marine and Mediterranean notes.

On Callmewine you will find Barbera for sale at the best online price. Discover the characteristics, the sommelier's advice and the Barbera food pairings on the Callmewine online wine shop.