Wine blogger and educator Jeremy Parzen joins the My Name Is Barbera editorial team!
When the My Name Is Barbera campaign approached me about contributing to its awesome blog and awareness program, I had one simple question for them: What took you so long?
I first began drinking Barbera literally more than 30 years ago not in Piedmont but in Veneto, where I commonly found the wines served as an alternative to the local favorites Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (no joke). As a matter of fact, it was often the wine and grape food-savvy folks would reach for when they hosted dinner parties in their homes.
Fast forward 20 years and I made my first genuine “wine” trip to Monferrato and to grape’s spiritual home in Nizza four years before the village would become its own DOCG within the Asti appellation.
It was then, as I toured and tasted in the region’s subterranean cellars — the so-called infernòt (little infernos), carved ingeniously and heroically from the same sandstone that lies beneath the homes and the vineyards — that I began to grasp the depth of this often overlooked grape variety.
After tasting hundreds of labels on that visit, ranging from the deliciously ripe and structured style of small-cask-aged wines to the zinging fresh fruit and moreish acidity of the stainless-steel-and-bottle-aged variety, I was convinced that Barbera offered the winemaker the versatility, breadth, and balance to deliver a wide spectrum of fantastic.
My name is Jeremy Parzen and I’ve been writing about wine — mostly Italian — for more than two decades now. But my name is also Barbera: I am a devoted lover, an earnest believer, an avid consumer, and a Barbera-inspired bard who hopes spread the good word about this amazing grape, the people who grow it, and the vineyards where it is transformed from berry to wine.
Stay tuned and thanks for reading. I know we’re going to have a lot of fun with this!
Jeremy Parzen is an adjunct professor of food and wine culture at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Piedmont), he’s a widely published wine and food historian who focuses on Italian foodways. Look out for his bi-monthly posts here at My Name Is Barbera. Click here for his bio