I was recently asked about barbera, and if I had a favorite. This is a tough question to answer, because there are so many good ones. And so many different styles. I don’t think I could pinpoint just one, and here’s why.
Barbera vs Barbera Superiore
Barbera is a grape, and just like with Nebbiolo, there are multiple ways to make it. Most winemakers have a “classic” barbera, a wine made in steel tanks with no influence of wood. The wine completes both malolactic and alcoholic fermentation in steel tanks, and remain there until bottling. These wines tend to be high in acidity, full bodied with aromas of red fruits.
You will also find barbera superiore, and this wine will have influence of oak. After pressing the juice, the wine is transferred into barrels and complete the malolactic and alcoholic fermentation in barrels instead of steel tanks.* The wood gives the wine some tannins, helps balance the acidity and you might find hints of oak flavor.
“The Mario Fontana Way”
Mario Fontana is what we would call a “traditional” wine maker, and uses big barrels for all his wines. Except his Barbera. A few years ago, he decided to use cement for this grape because that made more sense to him. And we see this with other winemakers. They may chose to interpret the grapes in different ways, and use new types of material when cultivating them. Kinda cool, right?
Now, you can see where choosing a favorite can be difficult. However, there are a few I tend to chose over and over again.
What’s available Vinmonopolet
There are so many others, but if I had to chose a few then these are high on my list.
*this might vary from winery to winery, but is a general idea of how to make this wine