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Barbera (red)

As widely planted in Italy as Sangiovese, but at its best in the hills around Alba and Asti in Italy's north-west, barbera is a variety whose style varies considerably according to yield. When it's low-yielding and matured in small oak casks, it can be concentrated, rich and deliciously cherryish and capable of ageing well.In high yields it's more of a soft, everyday glugging red whose high acidity makes it ideal for relatively rich dishes. Outside Italy, Barbera is widely planted in California, where, with few exceptions, it has missed out on Sangiovese's Cal-Ital-led surge in popularity, and in Argentina where it can be juicy and cherryish and a very good partner for pasta, risotto and pizza.

What does it taste like?

  • plummy and cherryish
  • undertones of sweet vanilla

The high-in-acid BARBERA grape of north-western Italy is a chameleon-like grape which changes considerably according to yield. As an everyday variety, it is a juicy glugger but it can metapmorphose into a concentrated, rich, plummy and cherryish wine with undertones of sweet vanilla and spice when aged in small new oak casks. In Argentina, it tends to the former style with a little less acidity thanks to plentiful Andean sunshine.

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