Your Wine IQ

Barbera


International Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon   Merlot   Pinot Noir   Syrah

Major Varieties: Cabernet Franc    Grenache    Malbec    Nebbiolo    Sangiovese    Tempranillo    Zinfandel

Regional Varieties:   Baga    Barbera    Blaufränkisch    Brachetto    Carignan    Carménère    Cinsaut    Dolcetto    Gamay    Graciano    Lagrein    Malvasia Nera    Marzemino    Montepulciano    Mourvèdre    Nero d'Avola    Petit Verdot    Petite Sirah    Pinot Meunier    Pinotage    Touriga Nacional


Barbera is the third-most planted red wine grape in Italy, after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. It is low in tannin but high in acid. It has potential, but is a somewhat finicky grape, and is hard to grow outside of Italy. Blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and blueberries are common flavors, and the use of oak can add flavor and increase aging potential. Barbera, which may be related to the Spanish grape Mourvèdre, has allegedly been around since at least the 13th century, originating in Monferrato, Italy. Barbera producers added methanol to their wines in the 1990s, which killed 23 people and ignited a huge scandal. Since then, Barbera has been steadily decreasing in popularity.

Although Barbera is mainly planted in Italy, there have been some Californian examples. After recovering from its bad reputation, Barbera may be on the upswing again soon.