Although Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba from Italy’s Piemont region are the best-known red wines made from the grape, this variety is also grown in other parts of the world including the U.S. Regardless of where they are grown, barbera grapes usually produce dramatically dark red wines that might look powerful but are surprisingly moderate in body and low in tannins. They also tend to be high in acidity with distinctive flavors of sour cherries, along with other berries, and herbs. The following are examples from California and Italy.
McManis Family Vineyards 2017 Barbera, Jamie Lynn Vineyard, California
Bought • Whole Foods, 1601 South Brentwood Boulevard, in March for $12.99
Description • If you’re hunting for a new and distinctive red, give this delicious barbera a try. Aged in oak for six months, it has a very inviting aromatic nose of cedar and vanilla and tastes of a juicy combination of black cherries and raspberries with intriguing herbal notes. Medium-bodied and soft, it has big flavors without being overpowering. It has a refreshing acidity and ends with a long finish. It would go well with beef, game and mushroom dishes.
Rocca Felice 2018 Barbera d’Alba, ItalyBought • Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, in March for $14.99
Description • Rocca Felice is a brand of the Famiglia Lanzavecchia, now in its third generation, which owns the famous Villadoria estate in Serralunga d’Alba. Aged in oak for 10 months, this is a spicy red that tastes of tart red cherries and blackberries. It’s an easy-to-drink red that has soft tannins and high acidity, but it’s lighter in body and has less complexity than the McManis. It would go well with pizza and pastas with tomato sauce.
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