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!