I bet that most quality Barberas (I said, quality) showcases as many differences as any other noble grape variety.
They say quality Italian wines often reduced to three “B”s: Barolo, Brunello and Barbaresco. It’s after the trip to the Monferrato area of Piedmont that one can add another “B” to his or her Italian wine vocabulary: and it’s Barbera d’Asti.
I do enjoy coming here, building my navigator route through the green hills (some of them quite steep) of Piedmont. Wild boar in truffle sauce, pasta that melts the moment you put it in your mouth and an aromatic red dry wine coded Barbera d’Asti. If you try this wines you won’t be very surprised to find out later that this grape variety is one of the most widely planted in Italy. Despite this, I bet that most quality Barberas (I said, quality) showcases as many differences as any other noble grape variety: it’s the matter of finding the right places to grow it.
Many famous Piedmontese producers of other B-wines also produce Barbera, which (and unfortunately for us) sometimes command prices not quite democratic as one could expect. Leaving these rare examples expensive Barbera aside, the wines in portfolios of such prodders are mostly so-called “everyday” wines, those that go well with a variety of foods and moods, the table savior, slaking the thirst, fuel for mind.
The styles of Barbera d’Asti are different, but for a curious novice who wonders what kind of Barbera is out there, I took the liberty of pointing out the two styles this variety tends to show in Asti area of Piedmont.
Fruity and silky
A great example of Barbera d’Asti is made specifically to be drunk easy and unaffectedly. The greatest examples of such wines will show enough depth and structure not to call the wine simple, but not too much of those to be left dazzled with the wine complexity and power. The aromas of sun-dried meadow herbs, mint and even the suspiciously attractive notes of medical office — isn’t it the celebration of life? Light and silky tannins are almost transparent — but enough to feel they are there. Great acidity and juiciness add to the picture of a wine suitable for a big city dinner with the loved ones.
The rustic side
I was particularly impressed and surprised with this style of Barbera d’Asti you will find in some wines of this variety. It stuns you with the aromas of the animal farm, but one won’t find those disturbing, not so much. There is a distinct note of bell pepper to this style of wine and I felt that this green sweet aroma is traveling with me along the valleys if Piedmont. Mint will remain the signature of these wines, despite the rustic style. This work, though, shouldn’t put you in an awkward position of expecting that the wines will be rough — the tannins of a well-made Barbera of this particular style remain.