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The 10 Best Barbera You Should Drink in 2022

barbera
This is our review of the 10 Best Barbera you should drink this year. Enjoy!
Barbera is the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy. Although it is not as renowned as Nebbiolo it offers an incredible value for money.
 
It’s known for its red fruit aromas, high acidity, and low tannins content. Barbera has various DOC and DOCG appellations, that we are going to go through below.
 
Have you ever found yourself staring at many Barbera bottles wondering which one you would like best?
 
I come from a nearby area and I know Piemonte very well, let’s say that you are going to have some local insight here.
 
We have picked a selection of the 10 best Barbera you can find right now
 
We have categorized them by styles and added an extensive buying guide so that you have all you need to make an informed decision.
 
Our best value bottle selection for you is Ricossa Barbera Appassimento.
 
If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2017.
 
You’ll find the table of content below. Let’s start with the review!
4.3/5

Vivino’s tips: Good value for money. Similar wines usually cost 42% more.

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Red Fruit, Hay, Licorice.

Red color with violet hues. A beautiful array of aromas on the nose where red fruits, hay, and licorice coalesce into mineral notes.

This Barbera Superiore has a richness that starts from the nose and accompanies you throughout the tasting, like a Wagner crescendo.

4/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes:
Berries, Marmalade, Violets, Vanilla, Fig.

Deep red with purple tones in the beginning, changing to garnet red throughout its aging process.

The bouquet brings out notes of berries, marmalade, violets, vanilla, fig and almonds, with slight smoky hues.

Dry, elegant, harmonious and full-bodied with typical acidic notes during its juvenile stage.

Becomes more round and complex over the years obtaining a soft finish.

4/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Cherry, Blackberry, Oak, Licorice.

Ruby red color, more or less. notes of red fruits like cherry, and blackberry.

Bodied, velvety, right acidity, typical of the grape. For the price, it’s a bargain. Be quick!

4/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Red Berry, Blackberry, Oak, Licorice.

Violet ruby red in color. Well balanced and fragrant.

Intense mouth feel, full-bodied and harmonious, with a long lasting finish.

 

3.8/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Plum, Blackberry, Cherry, Vanilla.

Fruity, unmistakable cherry and vanilla.

It shows a full-bodied taste in the whole mouth, smoothness on the tongue, and like a velvet cherry on the palate.

Its structure wraps the mouth and leaves cherry taste for long time.

4.1/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Plum, Cherry, Violet, Cinnamon, Cocoa.

Garnet color and deep ruby with purple reflections and blacks.

Rich scent of fruit, especially plum and cherry with hints of violets, cinnamon, cocoa and leather.

In the mouth is enveloping, dense, rich in tannins soft but well structured.

4/5

Region: United States, California

Tasting notes: Cherry, Ripe Plum, Pomegranate, Spices.

This Barbera is a garnet red color with inviting aromas of cherry, hibiscus tea, pomegranate, and mixed spices.

Medium bodied and flavors of ripe plum. This wine’s silky mid palate brightens up on the finish with its lively acidity and soft tannins.

4/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Sour Cherry, Wild Berry, Vanilla, Licorice.

Intense ruby red color with violet reflections. Intense winey bouquet recalling sour cherry and spices. Lively, generous, and full flavor.

4.3/5

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Red Berries, Blackberry, Mint, Vanilla

Intense ruby red with purple hues. Notes of red berries, mint and vanilla.

The bouquet is rich, aromatic and complex with a remarkable intensity and multilayered concentration.

4.3/5

Vivino’s tips: Featured in Vivino’s 2020 Wine Style Awards: Italian Barbera

Region: Italy, Piemonte

Tasting notes: Berries, Blackberry, Vanilla, Licorice, Cocoa.

Ruby red color with garnet. Bouquet, rich and complex, with many hints of berries and background notes of vanilla, licorice and cocoa.

Full, powerful, great structure but at the same time elegant and sensual, harmonious and very persistent.

Accompanies meat dishes, roasts, also with sauces, seasoned cheeses.

Buying Guide to Barbera

It’s not just about which Barbera you should buy.

There are other important aspects like how to serve it, food pairings, and much more.

The below buying guide will give you a detailed overview of all these topics.

Barbera Overview

Here you find an overview of where Barbera is most commonly planted.

Grape

Barbera

ABV

13.5%–15%

Main Regions

Italy: Piemonte

Other Regions

Argentina
Australia
Italy: Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna
USA: California

Grape

Barbera

ABV

13.5%–15%

Main Regions

Italy: Piemonte

Other Regions

Argentina
Australia
Italy: Lombardia, Emilia-Romagna
USA: California

Barbera Taste Profile

These are some of the most common aromas and flavors of Barbera.

Color

Deep Ruby

Nose

Red Cherry
Strawberry
Blackberries
Violet

Palate

Red Fruit, Plum
Vanilla
Dry
High Acidity
High Tannins
Light to Medium-Full Body

Color

Deep Ruby

Nose

Red Cherry
Strawberry
Blackberries
Violet

Palate

Red Fruit
Plum
Vanilla
Dry
High Acidity
High Tannins
Light to Medium-Full Body

Barbera Food Pairing

These are some food pairing suggestions for Barbera.

Appetitizer

Porcini Mushroom,
Truffle Risotto/Tajarin,
Vitello Tonnato

Meat

Battuta di Fassona (Meat Tartare),
Duck,
Game,
Rabbit

Fish

-

Cheese

Blue Cheese (Gorgonzola)

Appetitizer

Porcini Mushroom,
Truffle Risotto/Tajarin,
Vitello Tonnato

Meat

Battuta di Fassona (Meat Tartare),
Duck,
Game,
Rabbit

Fish

-

Cheese

Blue Cheese (Gorgonzola)

Serve and Store Barbera

Here you find some useful tips on how to serve and store Cabernet Sauvignon.

Decant

30 mins

Glass

Aroma Collector

Serve at

59 - 64 °F
15 - 18 °C

Store for

Up to 4 years
Up to 10 years finest bottles only

Decant

30 mins

Glass

Aroma Collector

Serve at

59 - 64 °F
15 - 18 °C

Store for

Up to 4 years
Up to 10 years finest bottles only

Barbera Styles

There are at least six Barbera styles you should know about. Five of these are from Piemonte, Italy and one is from the USA.

Here is a quick overview for some regions and what to expect:

Barbera d’Asti DOCG tends to be elegant and bright in color

Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG as to be at least 12.5% ABV and should age at least 12 months before release.

Nizza DOCG produces the ripest Barbera

Barbera del Monferrato DOC is usually lighter in body and has light bubbles, i.e. frizzante in Italian.

Barbera d’Alba DOC usually has more intense fruit flavors and ages a little longer than Barbera before entering the market.

Barbera from California has more pronounced oaked flavors like jam, vanilla, and spice.

Our Verdict

Barbera is the third most-planted red grape variety in Italy. It’s known for its red fruit aromas, high acidity and low tannins content. 
 
If you have been through the buying guide, you should have a pretty good idea of how to navigate the Barbera world.
 
At the same time, you have probably realized by now, that there’s a huge selection, many styles, and various price points.
 
The good news is that you can get very high quality usually at a good price if you know where to look!
 
That’s why proper guidance comes in handy. We hope our guide was helpful in this regard.
 
Our best value bottle selection for you is Ricossa Barbera Appassimento.
 
If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2017.
 
As always, make sure to serve your Barbera at the right temperature and with the proper glass.

What to do next?

Read our wine tasting guide to enhance your tasting experience and taste like the pro!

Alternatively, why don’t you check out our guides on Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot, or the other red wines?

FAQ

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Barbera.

What does Barbera mean?

Most studies speculate that the name Barbera comes from the Latin “Barbarus” which means foreigner in English.

This seems to be linked to the fact that historically Piemonte was a borderland, used as a gateway for the foreigner populations.

What is Barbera history?

The common assumption is that Barbera originated in the thirteenth century in Monferrato, Piemonte region in Italy. 

This is backed by a leasing agreement of the land dated mid-1200.

Barbera is today the third most-planted variety in Italy.

Where does Barbera grow best?

Barbera grape adapts well to the warm-climate regions and various soils except for alkaline and saline soils.
 
It gives its best in clay loam, calcareous, and sometimes sandy soils.

When is the perfect time to drink Barbera?

Barbera in his light body and frizzante version, i.e. Barbera del Monferrato DOC, is an everyday wine.

If you opt for the fuller body and more complex styles is a great choice for rich fat dishes and red meats dinner.

Is Barbera sweet?

Barbera is not sweet. It is a dry wine which means it contains less than 15 g/L, or sugar per liter.

Learn more about wine sweetness level here.

What does the acronym DOC and DOCG mean?

DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata. It’s one of the highest classification in Italy.

DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. It’s the highest classification in Italy.

Every DOCG wine is tested before bottling by a committee of licensed judges which guarantee the quality of the wine.

To obtain DOC winemakers need to follow rigorous protocols for harvesting, cultivation, and production. 

Other common classifications are DO and IGT.[1]

What’s Barbera's typical price range?

Barbera is an affordable wine you can find a good bottle below $20.

If you are after an amazing bottle, like Bricco dell’Uccellona from Braida, be prepared to pay up to $80.

There’ll be room for luxury bottles here as well over $100+

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