Barbera from the Piemonte

Posted by Keith Wallace

I was always one of those guys unaffected by jetlag, no matter where I was traveling to or returning from. But this most recent trip–my wife and I spent the 10 days around Thanksgiving in the town of Costigliole d’Asti–seems to have gotten to me. I’m exhausted!

This is either because I’m (a) getting older or (b) suffering from Barbaresco, Barolo, and Barbera withdrawal. I’d like to believe it’s the latter of the two options.

Discovering Barbera

I thought I’d take this blog space to discuss one of the most surprising discoveries of my time in Piemonte: The sheer range and quality of Barbera.

Over on this side of the pond, Barbera tends to exist in the vinous shadows, and I personally never gave it much thought except when I was having a simple pasta dish or a particularly meaty pizza. But in Asti, it’s a whole different ball game: Barbera runs the gamut from light and refreshing–I tasted an almost nouveau-style one at the Asti Truffle Festival–too dense and brooding and perfect alongside a rich piece of steak. I even tasted a number of them with a decade or more of bottle age–and they were fantastic!

I suppose the lesson here is a simple one: Always be open to new wine experiences, and don’t assume that the selection on our shelves represents the totality of a certain type of wine. Even a supposedly humble grape-like Barbera can do great things when given the TLC it so richly deserves.

Are you ready to learn about wine? Come to a wine class –online or in person– at the Wine School.

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