The Italian Almanac

barbera grape

Italian wine - February 3

Barbera is Italy's big everyday red wine, "Italy's most juicy, straightforwardly delicious red wine," according to Karen MacNeil, author of "The Wine Bible" (Workman, 2001).

Barbera is one of Piedmont's most widely planted grapes, and indeed, one of Italy's most widely planted red wine grapes.

Italians drink barbera with lunch or dinner, principally because it is an excellent wine to drink with food, and often inexpensive. Barbera is often compared to pinot noir, more intense than a Beaujolais, less intense than a cabernet.

The outstanding areas producing barbera are Alba, Asti (that's why the labels say barbera d'Alba and barbera d'Asti) and Monferarrato. When you see those names on the label, you'll know they're from those specific regions in Piedmont in Northern Italy.