There are not that many blends in Langhe, at least not compared to other wine regions. But I find blends to be quite interesting. Combining two or more grapes often brings out the best in each, resulting in a very balanced wine. This is true for the blend between Barbera and Nebbiolo!
Barbera is the third most planted grape variety in Italy, but you can also find it in other countries like California and Australia. You will find many wines made with 100% Barbera, known for its high levels of acidity Other characteristics include deep color, full body, and low tannins.
Nebbiolo, on the other hand, is known for its tannins. It’s probably the most important grape variety in Piemonte, and the most notable expression of Nebbiolo is Barolo. With Nebbiolo you can also make Barbaresco, Roero, Gattinara, Carema and Ghemme.
There is a long history if blending Nebbiolo with other grape varieties in Piemonte. Adding in other grapes can add some color to the otherwise light Nebbiolo, but one of the main reasons is to soften the grapes harsh tannins.
Barbera + Nebbiolo blends
I’ve found I quite like Barbera + Nebbiolo blends. The Barbera adds some acidity to the Nebbiolo, and the Nebbiolo helps calm the high acidity from the Barbera. In addition, the Nebbiolo brings some structure, and you’re left with a balanced wine.
Gianfranco Alessandria L’Insieme
L’Insieme, a project started by Elio Altare aims to make wines which, under a single brand, tell a story of friendship and collaboration, of hard work, shared passion for the Langhe and its outstanding grapes. Each winery makes their own blend, and in the one by Gianfranco Alessandria you’ll find 70% Barbera and 30% Nebbiolo. A fruity wine with good structure. One of the best L’Insieme I’ve had!
La Vedetta Swanti
La Vedetta wants to make the best Nebbiolo based blend, depending on what the vintage offers. Using Nebbiolo as a base, they experiment by adding in Freisa, Barbera or Dolcetto. In 2019, Swanti consists of 60% Nebbiolo and 40% Barbera. A balanced wine, with good acidity and good structure.
Elio Altare La Villa
Altare’s blend might be one of my favorites. You can truly feel the best of both varieties: well balanced tannins and good acidity.
Ghiomo Ruit Hora
Ruit Hora is Ghiomos “passion project”. Barbera was the grape from his father and grandfather, and he considers Nebbiolo to be the grape of today. So by adding 15% Nebbiolo to the Barbera, he aims to unite the two.