Red grapeThis is one of those reds that falls nicely into my “summer reds” list. By that, I mean a wine that feels deliciously refreshing, in its pure and bright fruit flavour, and can even be lightly chilled.

The best examples have a nice violet florality, then crunchy fresh morello cherries to taste and a herbal finish. It is quite light bodied, with high acidity which is why it is so thirst quenching.

It comes from the same hilly region as Barolo. The classic part of that area for this grape is Asti or Alba. Barolo has become such a fashion icon of an Italian grape that poor little Barbera was overshadowed. It couldn’t be more different than Nebbiolo, in the sense that Barolo wines are more suited to the intellectual bread of wine drinkers. Those who want to muse over its complexity and sometimes austere quality. But Barbera is a lot more approachable and a wine that can give you immediate happiness.

I have tasted some Barbera from new world countries like Argentina. There it is much more generous and plush in fruit flavour but still relatively light in body compared to other warm climate reds.

The Facts

A grape that is late ripening but retains its acidity well. Producers in Asti consider their version the most superior of the styles because those in Alba tend to give their best sites to growing Nebbiolo grapes instead.


Gamay, Corvina, Zweigelt, Frappato

Classic Regions

Italy: Piedmont (Alba, Asti, Monferrato), Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna

USA: California

Argentina: Mendoza

Australia: New South Wales

Food Matches

Tandoori or Jalfrezi meats, Bolognese or meatballs, sausages or mushroom stroganoff