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One of the stars of the Piedmont region in northwest Italy, the Barbera grape is extensively planted in the Asti and Alba areas. It is a late-ripening varietal producing wine in a medium to dark color with medium tannins and high acidity. Its signature fruit notes are red cherry and plum and it also displays notes of black pepper.
Barbera is famed for two key styles: fruity and young with no oak and barrel-aged for a spicy take.
Under the Italian appellation system, there are two kinds of Barbera in Piedmont: Barberad’AstiDOCG and Barberad’Alba DOC. The former is of higher quality with the stricter Denominazionedi OrigineControllata and Guarantita and used for the wine of the Asti province in Piedmont. This spot is the historical center of Barbera winemaking producing very fine examples of this varietal which are bright, elegant, and full-bodied.
Barberad’Alba wine production is concentrated around the eponymous town with wines being more intense with tart fruit aromas and flavors.
Not only is Barbera a significant grape in Piedmont, but it is also one of the most cultivated grapes in Italy overall. It has a reputation for good-quality, every-day affordable wines and as such is called “the people’s wine”.
Whatever style floats your boat, we have curated a fine range of wines similar to Barbera for you to enjoy.
Top 4 Best Wine Similar To Barbera 2021
Overlook the red blends of Languedoc-Roussillon at your own peril. Exceptionally good value and bursting with intense layers of fruit, high alcohol, and body, wines from this southern France region are fine alternatives for a range of monovarietal wines. It all depends on where in this sun-soaked wine belt you choose your wine and if it is a blend of simply two grapes or more. The favorites here are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan and, with their different features, they pack an elegant punch when blended.
If you have a preference for the intense Barberad’Alba DOC, the wine for you is Domaine. Crafted from 74% Syrah and 26% Grenache old vines which means flavor concentration, winemaking involves a mix of tanks and used barrels allowing the concentrated fruit flavors to shine through. These varietals express with heady kirsch, back raspberry, and licorice with undertones of fennel, white pepper all shot through with sheets of gorgeous minerality. Fleeting notes of tobacco and chocolate add delicious complexity.
Clean, medium to full-bodied, and silky, you can enjoy this red blend now with beef, veal, or pasta dishes or age for two to three years.
2. Pinot Noir
A grape that is planted wherever the climate is cool enough, Pinot Noir is made in diverse styles around the globe. Whether it is the precise style of Burgundy, the floral style of Otago, New Zealand, or the fuller style of California, the feature that unites all of its expressions is elegance. This French grape does not do well in warm locations where lush wines are traditionally made which gives it a uniquely pure and linear personality.
If Barberad’Asti DOCG is your thing, a Pinot Noir with a bit of weight is a good stand by wine. Try La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from La Crema winery for a red with a similar body and grace. This estate is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley where it produces cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
This lovely red has fresh aromas of red cherry and pomegranate. On the palate, these broaden to a sumptuous mix of berries and plum, all lined with fine tannins, interesting tobacco notes, and a seam of balancing acidity. Smooth and silky, this California Pinot Noir is ideal for Barberad’Asti fans. Serve with beef and chicken dishes as well as venison and game.
One of Barbera’s close neighbors is the Nebbiolo varietal found in Italy’s fine Barolo wine. This grape produces wines that are deceptively medium to full-bodied, the aromas suggest a fresh, floral red with spicy hints. It is when you take a sip that you realize there is more t this wine than the nose suggests. Nebbiolo boasts high tannins that leave a nice grippy feel in the mouth and good acidity that frames its flavors. In spite of having a firm tannic structure, this varietal’s cherry and raspberry notes shine through giving the impression of a sleek, classy wine with interesting depths.
This grape is ideal for lovers of both Asti and Alba Barbera as it offers appealing features of both with an overriding red fruit character that unites them.
L. A. is a Mexican wine made in the Valle de Guadalupe otherwise known as the “Napa Valley of Mexico” because of its flourishing and robust wine industry. This Nebbiolois intense ruby red to the eye with a clean nose of ripe red and black fruits. The mouth is an explosion of spicy fruit with touches of tobacco, walnut, and leather thanks to 14 months of aging in French oak, adding richness. Malolactic fermentation gives this brilliant red smoothing rounded edges.
With bright intensity and body, serve with steak, lamb cuisine, game, and chicken dishes. It also complements Italian food and medium-strength cheeses.
So iconic in its own right, it is difficult to think of Cabernet Sauvignon as a variety that can be compared to another. This is the beauty of this classic French grape though: it is planted so widely in different climates that it expresses in beautifully unique ways. The Maipo Valley Chilean style, where it is the leading grape in the country, makes a good alternative to both kinds of Barbera because fine fruit is the anchor.
A lovely blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Franc is William. It displays fresh red fruit and softening touches of vanilla and silky tannins. Its medium body and intricate structure temper its powerful fruity tones with finesse, rather like Barbera.
If you are looking for wines that match the fruit, body, and balance of Barbera, these wines will not disappoint. They offer similar profiles alongside their own unique features for an interesting and enjoyable alternative.