Barbera is an important black grape from Piedmont in northeastern Italy. While it might be considered second in status to the noble Nebbiolo there, it far exceeds that grape in terms of acres planted. In fact, Barbera is the third most planted red wine grape in Italy after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. It has also found some success in neighbouring provinces like Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna as well in the New World, popping up occasionally in vineyards in both North and South America, and even a little bit in South Australia. Barbera has high levels of natural acidity even when fully ripened which has helped its popularity in some warmer climates. It ripens fairly late, about two weeks after the Dolcetto grape but before Nebbiolo. Thought of for centuries as a cheap and everyday local quaff, it has been treated with much more respect since the 1980s and there are some examples of Barbera made from old vines that are extraordinary.


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