My Name is Barbera https://www.mynameisbarbera.com A storytelling Journey through Monferrato Thu, 31 Jan 2019 20:00:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 OAK ISN’T A FOUR-LETTER WORD (EITHER) https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/oak-isnt-four-letter-word/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/oak-isnt-four-letter-word/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 20:00:26 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4514 Barbera d’Asti is one of the appellations that helped to shape the Italian wine revolution and renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s Since I joined the My Name Is Barbera team last year, I’ve written a controversial post or two ( this one was probably the most polemical but there are others that come to mind). One of the ones that stirred the post was my post on how acidity is a good thing in general when it comes to wine and it’s an especially good thing when it comes to Barbera d’Asti. As I wrote the other day, acidity…

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Barbera d’Asti is one of the appellations that helped to shape the Italian wine revolution and renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s

Since I joined the My Name Is Barbera team last year, I’ve written a controversial post or two ( this one was probably the most polemical but there are others that come to mind).

One of the ones that stirred the post was my post on how acidity is a good thing in general when it comes to wine and it’s an especially good thing when it comes to Barbera d’Asti. As I wrote the other day, acidity is not a four-letter word when it comes to Barbera (or any wine for that matter). It’s just that acidity is one of the most misunderstood elements of wine among consumers and trade alike.

And I believe that the same can be said of barrique-aged Barbera d’Asti.

Barbera d’Asti is one of the appellations that helped to shape the Italian wine revolution and renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s. Barbera d’Asti producers were among the first to age their wines in new French cask back in the 80s. A couple of winery names stand out and they were part of a larger wave of “oaked” Barbera that began to appear then with spectacular results.

But in the 1990s and early 2000s, the American wine community — trade and consumers — started to rethink its relationship with “oaky” wines. That had nothing to do with Barbera d’Asti. It had to do with the Napa Valley model and how trade members, including many high-profile writers, started to favor wines with less oak and more acidity (!!!). It was believed at the time (erroneously, I might add), that oakiness masked terroir or “a sense of place.”

In the next few posts I want to talk about the legacy of French barrique in Italy and beyond. And I want to look at some of the reasons American wine lovers, trade members, and wine media members should take another look at barrique-aged Barbera.

Stay tuned: More controversy to come!

 

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BARBERA D’ASTI 2004 AND 2007, DRINKING GREAT RIGHT NOW https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/barbera-dasti-drinking-great-right-now/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/barbera-dasti-drinking-great-right-now/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 20:00:58 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4504 Acidity is not a four-letter word; acidity is your friend!   Before we publish the next in our series of posts on how “Acidity Is Not a Four-Letter Word” (a series we could have as easily called “Acidity Is Your Friend” or “Acidity, the Misunderstood Missing Link in Wine”), I want to take time out to share a personal anecdote about aged Barbera. You may remember that we posted about aged Barbera previously (one of our most popular posts from last year, “Can Barbera d’Asti Age?“). The notion that Barbera must be drunk solely in its youth is one of…

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Acidity is not a four-letter word; acidity is your friend!

 

Before we publish the next in our series of posts on how “Acidity Is Not a Four-Letter Word” (a series we could have as easily called “Acidity Is Your Friend” or “Acidity, the Misunderstood Missing Link in Wine”), I want to take time out to share a personal anecdote about aged Barbera.

You may remember that we posted about aged Barbera previously (one of our most popular posts from last year, “Can Barbera d’Asti Age?“). The notion that Barbera must be drunk solely in its youth is one of the myths that we have gladly debunked here on the My Name Is Barbera Blog (see this post here). A recent experience of mine working as a sommelier was a great illustration of this.

A few weeks ago, I began moonlighting as a floor sommelier at one of Houston’s most popular Italian restaurants and pizzerias. As per the protocol here on the My Name Is Barbera blog, I can’t reveal the name of the venue or the Barbera d’Asti producers that we currently have on the list there (I inherited the list, btw; and even though I’ll be selecting new wines for the program moving forward, the wines in question were chosen by my predecessors).

But let it suffice to say that one was a Barbera d’Asti from the 2004 vintage (from a respected winery that actually specializes in other grape varieties) and the other was from 2007 (from one of Barbera d’Asti’s most iconic producers, well known throughout the world of Italian wine).

No one was buying the wines because they were priced really high. But as soon as I revised their prices on the list, they both started to fly like hot cakes. Among the guests for whom I poured the wine, none of them knew what they were ordering or why these wines were so special. The appeal lay solely in the price and the fact that the restaurant is well known for its monferrato open spacewonderful wine program, one of the best in the city).

It was amazing to see their faces as they experienced these 15-year-old and 12-year-old expressions of Barbera: The wines were very fresh and lithe, not “tired” or stale at all. And as they ordered bottle after bottle, inspired by the price and the deliciousness, they raved about how much they loved them. It was such a great example of how Barbera can age with spectacular results. It was only after they had begun to enjoy and praise the wines that I revealed how Barbera’s natural acidity allows the wines to age so gracefully and so spectacularly. Needless to say, they were all surprised and somewhat confused.

After all, I told them: Acidity is not a four-letter word; acidity is your friend!

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ACIDITY: THE REAL STORY (ISN’T WHAT YOU MAY THINK) https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/malolactic-fermentation-barbera/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/malolactic-fermentation-barbera/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 20:00:15 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4494 As part of the current series of posts on acidity in Barbera and why Acidity Isn’t a Four-Letter Word, I feel compelled to share the following anecdote.   I recently attended a guided tasting of Italian red wines. The wine expert who led the tasting told the crowd of tasters, who were mostly laypeople, that the wines have become more popular today because winemakers in the appellation(s) have begun provoking malolactic fermentation during vinification. As a result, the expert said, the wines are less acidic and thus more appealing to people who don’t like acidity-driven wines. The only problem: The…

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As part of the current series of posts on acidity in Barbera and why Acidity Isn’t a Four-Letter Word, I feel compelled to share the following anecdote.

 

I recently attended a guided tasting of Italian red wines.

The wine expert who led the tasting told the crowd of tasters, who were mostly laypeople, that the wines have become more popular today because winemakers in the appellation(s) have begun provoking malolactic fermentation during vinification. As a result, the expert said, the wines are less acidic and thus more appealing to people who don’t like acidity-driven wines.

The only problem: The expert didn’t realize that unlike white wines, all red wines undergo malolactic fermentation. In fact, without malolactic fermentation, red wine would be undrinkable. Malolactic fermentation transforms tart malic acid is converted into softer-tasting lactic acid. Without it, red wine would be undrinkable (or least, not pleasant to drink).

The episode reflects the dearth of knowledge and information swirling around acidity’s role in wine. Yes, it’s true that acidity gives the wine its “freshness” and often its “tartness” (another alleged four-letter word in uninformed wine circles). But acidity is also a key component in the great — and the greatest — wines in the world, white and red.

In case you don’t have a subscription to JancisRobinson.com where you can read, search, and scroll the entire Oxford Companion to Wine online the excellent entry for “Acidity”, I highly recommend that you check out the free Wikipedia entry for Acids in Wine.

In it, the author writes: “[Acids] are present in both grapes and wine, having direct influences on the color, balance and taste of the wine as well as the growth and vitality of yeast during fermentation and protecting the wine from bacteria.”

You’ll find find sub-entries on malic acid, lactic acid, etc. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

And it’s a good place to start for wrapping your mind around acidity and its sine qua non role in winemaking and in great wine.

Next week, we’ll delve even further into this topic. But it’s a great place to get started.

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ACIDITY’S NOT A FOUR LETTER WORD https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/acidity-is-good/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/acidity-is-good/#respond Wed, 09 Jan 2019 20:00:59 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4483 Happy new year, everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season and new year celebration. And being that we already one week into the new year, I thought I would just dive right into something controversial — some would even call it taboo. Acidity. Sometimes people in the food and wine world treat it like its a four-letter word (for those of you not familiar with the expression, a four-letter word in English is a “bad” word, profanity, obscenity in some cases). But it’s actually the good word. All wine is made up of a balance of water, alcohol, and…

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Happy new year, everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season and new year celebration.

And being that we already one week into the new year, I thought I would just dive right into something controversial — some would even call it taboo.

Acidity. Sometimes people in the food and wine world treat it like its a four-letter word (for those of you not familiar with the expression, a four-letter word in English is a “bad” word, profanity, obscenity in some cases). But it’s actually the good barberaword. All wine is made up of a balance of water, alcohol, and acidity. Those are the three main components in any wine together with what is often referred to as “dry extract” — the solid elements that give the wine color, texture, aroma, and flavor.

Of those three, the two most important are the alcohol and the acidity. And it’s their balance (or lack thereof) that can make the wine great (or make it not so great). Barbera often gets a bad rap because many describe it as a grape and a wine that has a lot of acidity and very little tannin. But that bad reputation is as erroneous as it is misplaced.

Beyond the fact that acidity sounds like a bad word because of its application in other sectors like hard science, we need to look back at the emergence of the wine trade in the U.S. after the second world war. By the 1970s, Americans were being plied with wines that had very little acidity and a lot of tannin. That was partly because it was challenging to make acidity-driven wines in California where the weather can be too warm for that style of wine. And it was also due to the fact that wine marketers and wine retailers taught Americans — who weren’t a wine drinking nation before the 1970s — to like sweeter-style wines with very little acidity and a lot of tannin. Think of oaky Zinfandel from that era — the apotheosis of the classic Californian wine.

In the next few posts, we’re going to look at the nature and role of acidity and why it’s such an important element in the great wines of the world and why it’s part of what makes Barbera such a distinctive fine wine grape.

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WELCOME https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/welcome-kerin-okeefe-barbera-asti/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/welcome-kerin-okeefe-barbera-asti/#respond Wed, 12 Dec 2018 16:12:21 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4469 Barbera d’Asti welcomes wine writers from around the world.   Last week a group of 100 or so wine writers, wine bloggers, lifestyle writers, and “opinion leaders” (as they call them in Italy) were welcomed in the land of Barbera by the Barbera d’Asti growers and bottlers consortium. It was a really impressive gathering, with people from all over the world: China, Indonesia, Korea, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, England, and America. And those are just the people I interacted and traded notes with. I don’t even know exactly how many countries were represented. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. Back…

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Barbera d’Asti welcomes wine writers from around the world.

 

Last week a group of 100 or so wine writers, wine bloggers, lifestyle writers, and “opinion leaders” (as they call them in Italy) were welcomed in the land of Barbera by the Barbera d’Asti growers and bottlers consortium.

It was a really impressive gathering, with people from all over the world: China, Indonesia, Korea, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, England, and America. And those are just the people I interacted and traded notes with. I don’t even know exactly how many countries were represented. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. Back in my media junket days, groups like this were usually limited to 10-12 people at the most.

One of the highlights was Kerin O’Keefe’s master class on Barbera d’Asti where the writers etc. got to taste 19 wines side-by-side. Kerin O’Keefe is one of the leading English-language Italian-focused wine writers working in the world today. And she’s also a top taster: As a senior editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine she tastes thousands of Italian wines each year. It was great to get to glean Kerin O’Keefe insights as she led the tasting and we tasted the wines together.

An American and a Truffle: Perfect matrimonyWhile the styles varied greatly, the overarching high quality of the wines was truly impressive. It seemed that all of my colleagues agreed that the wines were among the best we had ever tasted from the appellation. And of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the course of the three days that we were “on the ground” in Barbera d’Asti, we also had the opportunity to taste with scores and scores of producers.

One thing that emerged was that many Barbera growers and producers (most of them, in fact) make a “traditional-style” wine and a “modern-style” wine. I couldn’t help but note that a lot of them presented the wines as such (verbatim).

The traditional wines are generally made in stainless steel and are fresher and brighter than their modern counterparts, which are generally aged in new cask. The cask-aged wines are “bigger” and rounder, which notes of oak and tobacco The White Truffle of Alba: the scent of Piedmontcomplementing the classic zippy fruit that Barbera delivers. I tend to prefer the traditional. But like many of my colleagues, I found myself enjoying the modern-style wines. It seems that Barbera d’Asti has really found its groove in terms of its ability to produce “something for everyone.”

Especially given the size of the group, the organizers did a fantastic job of executing the event. And we were all treated to a bounty of freshly shaved truffles. On one day, we ate truffles at lunch and dinner!
Thank you, Barbera d’Asti, for hosting us. It was a really remarkable and unforgettable experience.

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GRIGNOLINO AND THE WITCH’S CAT https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/grignolino-witchs-cat/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/grignolino-witchs-cat/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 08:00:52 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4452 When I was a little girl, I loved the book “Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat” by Ursula Moray Williams. This book title has been going round and round in my head recently while I’ve been thinking about and planning this article. It is pretty obvious that Gobbolino rhymes with Grignolino of course. But is there something else?   I first had the pleasure of discovering Grignolino at Vinitaly earlier this year. The Grignolino d’Asti Association, a sub group of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti, had been formed only a week before, with my friend Dante installed as President. I had the pleasure…

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When I was a little girl, I loved the book “Gobbolino, the Witch’s Cat” by Ursula Moray Williams. This book title has been going round and round in my head recently while I’ve been thinking about and planning this article. It is pretty obvious that Gobbolino rhymes with Grignolino of course. But is there something else?

 

I first had the pleasure of discovering Grignolino at Vinitaly earlier this year. The Grignolino d’Asti Association, a sub group of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti, had been formed only a week before, with my friend Dante installed as President. I had the pleasure of talking to Dante all about this interesting grape variety before and during a dedicated tasting hosted by the Consorzio at the Piemonte pavilion.

Previously known as Berbexinus, the first records date from as far back as 1249 and it was a popular wine in the Royal households of the 18th and 19th centuries, before and after the Unification of Italy.

Grignolino d’Asti is a gentle, elegant wine, with a fine body, low acidity and high tannins, getting its name from “grignole” which are the seeds of a grape. Its vineyards cover a wide growing area, but the heart of Grignolino production is Portacomaro. Dante says that some people consider it a difficult grape to grow, but just ‘needs to be told what to do and can excel when managed firmly’. Long ageing in wood has been tried, but Dante states that it doesn’t have the character for ageing, and is at its best when drunk fresh and young.

This became more apparent during the tasting, hosted by Paolo Massobrio, a well-known Italian wine journalist. We tasted wines from 2015, 2016 and 2017, with the 2017 the first to be recognised as DOC. The difference in vintage was noticeable, as was the difference in terroir. All were classically low in acid and high in tannin.

We started with the youngest, and tasted four from 2017. In general, young Grignolino is a pale ruby with a tendency to garnet, with notes of strawberries and red cherries, followed by roses and violets when it opens up after some contact with the air. For me, this is a red which makes me think of summer. It would be an excellent companion to fish, a pairing I have yet to try.

The three wines from 2016 showed a rather quick evolution with more sweet spice, the flowers and fruit still present but less pronounced, and with notes of sweet black tea. The single 2015 vintage was strikingly different – very little primary notes, with tobacco, tea and spice more evident. It was quite clear that this is definitely a wine to be enjoyed soon after bottling. I loved this tasting and hope to drink more Grignolino in future, but unfortunately, I have not yet come across it in the U.K.

I will leave you with another possible reason that Gobbolino reminds me of Grignolino: Gobbolino did not particularly want to conform to the stereotype of being a witch’s cat. He had no desire to learn spells or master flying on broomsticks. He just needed to be loved by a regular person, belong to a normal home, and was quite happy to be wanted just for being a cat – simple pleasures. In a way, Grignolino is a red wine has no inclination to be aged for years, has no pretensions, but wants to be enjoyed in the here and now – simple pleasures of the vinous kind.

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BARBERA HERE WE COME! https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/barbera-we-come/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/barbera-we-come/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 20:00:25 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4464 I’m thrilled to share the news that I will be traveling to Asti province this week for a series of tastings of Barbera.   I’ll be joined by a group of top English-language wine writers and wine-focused journalists and bloggers, including some that I know well and others that I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know better. One of the things that I’m most exited about is a Master Class on Barbera d’Asti that will be led by acclaimed American wine writer and author Kerin O’Keefe, a senior editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and one of the top…

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I’m thrilled to share the news that I will be traveling to Asti province this week for a series of tastings of Barbera.

 

I’ll be joined by a group of top English-language wine writers and wine-focused journalists and bloggers, including some that I know well and others that I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know better.
One of the things that I’m most exited about is a Master Class on Barbera d’Asti that will be led by acclaimed American wine writer and author Kerin O’Keefe, a senior editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine and one of the top wine writers working in the field today.
Here on the blog, I’ve written repeatedly about how Barbera is one of the most misunderstood and maligned grapes in the world. The deeper I’ve dived into my research, the more I’ve discovered that Barbera enjoyed a glorious past — not just in Italy but in France and America as well.
So there literally could be no music sweeter to my ears than knowing that I will be touring Barbera’s spiritual homeland with some of the best and brightest wine communicators and storytellers in the world.
We’ll also have the opportunity to experience Barbera in its “natural habitat.” We’ll be visiting Nizza, where the newly created Nizza DOCG was recently launched. We’ll also have the opportunity to sit down and break bread with top Barbera growers and winemakers, getting to pair their wines with classic dishes — just the way they eat at home.
Starting week after next, I’ll begin posting about my experiences, impressions, and tasting notes. and I’ll also be sharing those of my colleagues here on the blog as well.
So buckle your seatbelts and get ready for some world-class blogging from the land of Barbera.

Barbera, here we come!

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ADVENTURES BEYOND BARBERA https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/adventures-beyond-barbera/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/adventures-beyond-barbera/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 18:00:49 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4060 Barbera is a bridge that starts an adventure into the history, land, people, and tastes that make up such compelling and unique wines as Ruchè, Grignolino, Albarossa.   Well, this is it. It’s hard to believe that we’ve officially come to the end of such an eye-opening, palate-expanding, and, yeah, wine-soaked journey that I started many months ago. I’m forever grateful to the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e vini del Monferrato for making it happen. And it’s ironic, but after working with a great organization that focuses on the Monferrato region’s incredible range of Barbera wines and production, and writing and…

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Barbera is a bridge that starts an adventure into the history, land, people, and tastes that make up such compelling and unique wines as Ruchè, Grignolino, Albarossa.

 

Well, this is it.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve officially come to the end of such an eye-opening, palate-expanding, and, yeah, wine-soaked journey that I started many months ago. I’m forever grateful to the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e vini del Monferrato for making it happen.

And it’s ironic, but after working with a great organization that focuses on the Monferrato region’s incredible range of Barbera wines and production, and writing and videoing about it for a website called My Name Is Barbera, I’m going to finish my work here by imploring you to explore the red wines of the region other than Barbera!

That’s because Monferrato sits inside of Piemonte, one of the most versatile wine regions in all of Italy (and therefore, by extension, one of the most versatile wine regions in all of the world). If you want to blow your own mind sometime, go check out a map of the official DOC and DOCG wine-producing areas in Monferrato – you will see a panoply of overlapping production regions that include some of the most well-known of northern Italian wines, along with several lesser-known but impressive and up-and-coming offerings.

Barbera is the pop star of the Monferrato reds, no doubt, but for lovers of Italian wine, and of versatile, food-friendly red wines in general, Barbera can be something more: Barbera is the “gateway drug” to the rest of Piedmont. Barbera is a bridge that starts an adventure into the history, land, people, and tastes that make up such compelling and unique wines as Ruchè, Grignolino, Albarossa.

I know this, because I literally lived it (just go check through this website’s back catalog, folks!). And it was awesome.

And the quickest way that I can summarize Ruchè, Grignolino, and Albarossa for you is to tell you that if the swashbuckling Indiana Jones ever drank wine, then these are the grapes that would likely have been his favorites.

Will Ruchè, Grignolino, or Albarossa ever topple Barbera as the ambassador of Monferrato red wine to the world? Maybe, but we’re unlikely to see that in our lifetimes; their production numbers just are nowhere near as high as Barbera d’Asti. But that, to me, is actually kind of the point of those off-the-beaten-path grapes. By their very natures, they are so unique that they demand exploration, daring, and an open mind.

They are the lovable, handsome, anti-heros of Piemonte red wine. They are quirky, and scene-stealing, and make us love them despite their assertive natures. And maybe most importantly, these are wines for badass gastronomic adventurers! They are wily, surprising, and have turn-on-a-dime versatility (sounds a lot like a certain scruffy, fedora-wearing, whip-snapping film hero, doesn’t it?). Only the vinously daring need apply.

I can imagine what some of you are probably thinking, your inner voice sounding something like “but wait, don’t you want me to love Barbera?” Do I want you to love Barbera like I love it? Yes, of course I want you to love Barbera like I love it. I actually can’t think of any valid reason for you not to love Barbera.

But what I’m trying to get at here is that I don’t want you to stop your Monferrato love with Barbera. If you explore the riches of Piemonte’s many incarnations of Barbera, you’ll undoubtedly be a happy camper, sure. But you’re not finished exploring Monferrato with It. Ignore Ruchè, Grignolino, or Albarossa, and you ignore the hidden gems, the secret passageways, the cool extra finds that make the exploration all the more complete, and all the more rewarding for the effort.

What I’m getting at here is that you don’t want to pack up and walk away from the Temple of Monferrato just because you found the golden idol of Barbera. You need to keep that fedora on, and keep that whip handy at your side, and continue to explore. You need to find the rest of the treasures tucked away in there.

What I’m getting at here is that you’re a Monferrato adventurer now. So enjoy the journey, revisit the spoils, and maybe even show some other adventures the quickest way down the paths.

 

Cheers!

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PLEASE STOP CALLING BARBERA “THE WINE OF THE PEOPLE” https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/piedmont-barbera-wine-people/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/piedmont-barbera-wine-people/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 20:00:32 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4438 You should consider that Barbera comes from Piedmont, one of Italy’s most liberal regions where “people” are known for their broad intellectual interests and cosmopolitan culture.   Over the course of the last couple of posts, we’ve looked at many of the myths about Barbera here and here and we’ve pointed out how many misconceptions there are about the grape variety throughout the wine writing world. But of all the misinformation that’s still out there when it comes to Barbera, the one that really rubs me the wrong way is the often repeated but totally misplaced and misinformed adage that Barbera…

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You should consider that Barbera comes from Piedmont, one of Italy’s most liberal regions where “people” are known for their broad intellectual interests and cosmopolitan culture.

 

Over the course of the last couple of posts, we’ve looked at many of the myths about Barbera here and here and we’ve pointed out how many misconceptions there are about the grape variety throughout the wine writing world.
But of all the misinformation that’s still out there when it comes to Barbera, the one that really rubs me the wrong way is the often repeated but totally misplaced and misinformed adage that Barbera is the wine of the people.

Just Google it and you will see what I mean. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

1. As we have seen repeated in my research, Barbera was actually once (and still is) considered an “elite” wine, a “top” wine. Remember Giovanni Pascoli’s poem “A Ciapin”. Nebbiolo is currently Piedmont’s most lucrative grape. But it wasn’t always like that, as we have seen repeatedly. And even today, especially when it comes to Barbera d’Asti, there are scores of wines that land at high “premium” and “luxury” prices.
2. Who exactly are the “people”? Oh, man, this gets under my skin! When you say that Barbera is the wine of the people you’re basically saying that Barbera is the wine for people who can’t afford the best wine, it’s wine for people who don’t know what good wine is. You know: The “people” in quotes, citizens who don’t follow the snobby rules of the “elite,” the privileged who drink “good” wines. No, that’s not going to fly with me, especially when you consider that Barbera comes from Piedmont, one of Italy’s most liberal regions where “people” are known for their broad intellectual interests and cosmopolitan culture.

By saying that Barbera is the wine of the people, you unwittingly (or perhaps intentionally) divide wine lovers into two classes — one superior, one inferior.  And anyone who’s likes Barbera as much as I do is my kinda people!

If it weren’t for Prohibition and the disruption of the commercial wine trade in California, we’d probably be drinking Barbera today instead of “Napa Valley Cab”

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BEWARE BARBERA MISINFORMATION https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/beware-barbera-misinformation/ https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/beware-barbera-misinformation/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 20:00:47 +0000 https://www.mynameisbarbera.com/?p=4430 It was a disappointment to discover that apart from the My Name Is Barbera project, the English language internets are a barren landscape when it comes to solid information about Barbera.   In our last post  we debunked 5 common myths about Barbera. As a follow up to that piece, I thought I would create a post with links to English-language resources about Barbera. And so I set about Google-searching things like “Barbera wine” and “Barbera d’Asti.” It was a disappointment to discover that apart from the My Name Is Barbera project, the English language internets are a barren landscape…

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It was a disappointment to discover that apart from the My Name Is Barbera project, the English language internets are a barren landscape when it comes to solid information about Barbera.

 

In our last post  we debunked 5 common myths about Barbera. As a follow up to that piece, I thought I would create a post with links to English-language resources about Barbera. And so I set about Google-searching things like “Barbera wine” and “Barbera d’Asti.” It was a disappointment to discover that apart from the My Name Is Barbera project, the English language internets are a barren landscape when it comes to solid information about Barbera. And what’s more, they are rife with misinformation about Barbera. I’m really sorry to report that but it’s true.

The Wikipedia entry for Barbera, although very well written, is an example of this. It actually has some good, hard information in it. But it also is the source of a falsehood about Barbera that has been widely and sadly propagated across the world wide webs.

When you Google Barbera, among the sites that come up at the top of the search engine results, nearly all of them report that Barbera is 1,000 years older than Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s weird because nearly all the writers seem to believe that this info somehow makes Barbera cool.

I believe the Wikipedia page is where this “myth” was started. The entry says that “Barbera is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy where it has been known from the thirteenth century.”

It’s true that Barbera is believed to have originated in Monferrato (see my post on Barbera’s Spiritual Homeland). But it’s unlikely that the grapes they grew back in the Middle Ages had a genetic resemblance to the wine we know today. In fact, the earliest mentions of Barbera (as we know it today) come from the 18th century.

Yet, across the internets, uninformed writers tout it as “older than Cabernet Sauvignon!” (even though I fail to see why that’s significant).

Unfortunately, the two best anglophone resources about Barbera that you can find online are both behind paywalls.

The very best is the Google Play version of Ian D’Agata’s Native Grapes of Italy (a reference work that I consult regularly and that I highly recommend to you). Also excellent is the Barbera entry on JancisRobinson.com. You can’t see that page without being a subscriber, although you can see this free page in the “learn grape varieties” section of the wonderful site.

Unfortunately, the Jancis Robinson page is the unwitting source of one of the biggest misconceptions about Barbera. We’ll take that one on in our next post. Stay tuned and buckle your seats!

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