Barbera is the quintessential “wine of the people”. It is a very vigorous grape variety that can produce high yields (up to 5 tons/acre). While the grapes grow well in sandy soils, the best Barbera wines tend to be from well-pruned vineyards and smaller grape clusters.
Barbera’s original home is Italy, with the best Barbera wines coming from the Piedmont region. Most of the Barbera you will find still comes from Italy, however, the United States, Australia, and Argentina all have Barbera wine regions as well. The “Old World” Barbera is much fresher in style with tart blackberry notes and ample acidity, while the “New World” Barbera tends to be more full-bodied and fruit-forward.
Barbera wine tastes both rich and light-bodied with a mish-mash of flavor. It has dark staining pigments that dye the wine to near-black, and the light tannin and high acidity make the Barbera wine taste “juicy”. The wine has notes of dark cherry, strawberry, plum, blackberry, violet, lavender, vanilla, nutmeg, anise, incense, and dried leaves. Barbera wines are meant to be enjoyed young, traditionally within 2-4 years.