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What is Barbera…?

See Decanter.com's bitesize guide to Barbera, including Barbera d'Asti DOC wines. You'll be an expert in no time...

What is Barbera…?

  • Barbera is a low tannin, red grape variety that has been cultivated in the region of Piedmont, north-west Italy, since at least the 13th century.

  • Barbera produces youthful wines bursting with red and black fruits.

  • Wine lovers should not confuse it with Barbaresco, a DOCG wine made from Nebbiolo

Barbera’s natural high acidity can be out-of-balance in cheaper bottles from high yielding vineyards.

But the best examples are of high quality and most critics consider them to be excellent everyday wines. These include wines of Barbera d’Asti DOC.

Did you know: The Casale Monferrato Cathedral in Piedmont contains the first known documented planting of Barbera, which was in the 13th Century.


Thanks to low tannins and high acidity, Barbera is often a fantastic match for the rich cuisine Piedmont is renowned for.

Barbera commonly grows on the lower slopes of this hilly region. This is because winemakers and growers usually reserve the most desirable locations higher up for Nebbiolo.

More and more Barbera is now spending some time in oak. This is because producers want to add complexity, as well as an appealing vanilla signature to their wines.

Barbera is currently the most widely planted grape in Piedmont.

Barbera’s popularity has also spread outside of its native region. Producers and growers use it as far afield as Argentina, California and Australia.

See more guides:

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Acidity and wine age – ask Decanter

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