Once Italy’s most-planted red, now Barbera plays second fiddle to Piedmont neighbour, Nebbiolo. Compared with Nebbiolo, Barbera it is less impressive but less aggressive, with silker plum/berry fruit and notably less tannin. High acid means Barbera can feel tart - especially young - but this suits food and can bring out earthy mineral and dark chocolate nuances. Toasty oak too: Barbera’s low skin tannins can force lesser wines to rely on tannins from barrel. Still giving colour to blends from Emilia-Romagna to as far south as Puglia, Sicily and even Sardinia, Barbera’s high acid at ripeness has - far from chilly Piedmont - encouraged moderate success in distant hot climates Australia, California and Argentina.
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