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In Good Taste

Introduction to Barbera

Introduction to Barbera

A Fresh, Everyday Wine

In Northern Italy, Barbera is considered an everyday wine of the people. Made from Barbera grapes, it’s a dry red wine that is both affordable and accessible. The dark pigments of the Barbera grape give it a deep purple (almost black) color in the bottle and the glass. Yet, many people are surprised when they take their first sip and find that Barbera is actually a light red wine with fresh, flavorful notes of cherry, nutmeg, strawberry, and citrus.

Barbera Wine is food-friendly, and great for all seasons

This richness and tart crispness combine to make Barbera a go-to wine year-round, perfect for a cold winter night or hot summer day by the pool (as a lighter red wine, go ahead and stick Barbera in the fridge for 30 minutes). It is an inviting and accessible wine enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. So whatever your wine experience level may be, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a glass (or two) of this delightful crowd-pleaser. 

History of Barbera Wine

The Barbera grape can trace its roots in Northern Italy back to the 13th century, though some claim this history goes back as far as the 7th century. Throughout history, Barbera has generally been an affordable wine for ordinary people. And thanks to Italian immigrants, this heat-tolerant grape has spread its wings to find new homes in warm climates all across the New World.

History of Barbera Wines

Unfortunately, Barbera has come across hard times in recent years. In Italy, the Barbera grape has dropped from the third most- planted grape in Northern Italy to the sixth. But its decline may have started back in the mid-1980s when several Italian winemakers tried to bolster their profits by adding methanol to their wine. This additive caused a local health crisis that killed nearly 30 people and left many more with severe, lifelong health issues.

This tragedy dealt a severe — but understandable — blow to Barbera's popularity. However, despite this tragedy, the Barbera grape has begun to recover the positive press coverage it deserves, it’s currently making a comeback as it’s introduced to new audiences worldwide.

Is Barbera a Varietal or a Blend?

The majority of Barbera wines are varietals, which means they’re made from a single Barbera grape variety. Many Italian vintners are starting to include varietals in their wines, and two of the most popular Italian varietals are Piedmont's Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti. At an Italian restaurant with friends and feeling intimidated by the wine list? Barbera d’Alba and d’Asti are both go-to wines with all sorts of Italian food

Barbera Wine is a Varietal of Wines from Italy

While most Barbera wines are varietals, there are a good number of Barbera blends available as well. Many winemakers are taking advantage of the Barbera grape's high acidity to add a sense of freshness and crispness to their wine blends. These blends are typically made from Barbera grapes mixed with French grapes (such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon). This combination creates new and exciting wine blends that are well-balanced and easy to drink.

Barbera Wine Production

After they’re harvested, Barbera grapes are pressed, fermented, bottled, and aged just like other wines. Because Barbera is high in acidity but low in tannins, it develops its final flavor more quickly than other wines. This unique quality means that Barbera is often consumed as a young wine.

When it comes to the fermenting step of the production process, some winemakers choose to ferment or mature Barbera using oak barrels. This approach tends to bring out the richer fruit and spice notes in the wine, such as dark cherry, spice, and clove. Other aging methods, such as aging in stainless steel vats, allow the wine to retain more of the Barbera’s acidic and citrusy character and emphasize the wine’s naturally tart and fruity flavor profile.

Barbera Around the World

In its home country of Italy, Barbera grapes are most commonly planted in the Piedmont region, where they share a place with some of Italy's most popular wine grapes. The Barbera is an underdog of sorts in this region, as it constantly battles for prime growing locations with the more prestigious, high-tannin Nebbiolo grape. Barbera loses most of these battles due to the Nebbiolo grape's higher profitability, which means that it is not grown on the desirable higher elevations and south-facing slopes. Instead, Barbera grapes are often grown on lower slopes, hills, and valleys below the mountain fog line. Despite these early obstacles, Barbera remains a favorite wine of many Italians and is loved by millions around the globe. (We all love underdogs, don’t we?)

Growing Regions for Barbera Wines

Being a heat-tolerant grape, Barbera is increasingly finding new and welcoming homes in places like Argentina, Australia, and the USA (specifically California's Central Valley and the Sierra Foothills). Many of these New World winemakers are capitalizing on the Barbera's high acidity and low tannins to create fresh and more citrus-forward wines than those produced by Old World winemakers. With their fresh new flavors, these winemakers are introducing Barbera to countless new consumers.

What to Expect from Barbera Wine

Barbera is a surprising wine, both to the eyes and to the tastebuds. If you’ve never tried Barbera wine before, its dark color might lead you to expect an intense dark fruit taste, but its flavor is actually fresh, citrusy, and light. This contrast consistently surprises first-time drinkers — in a good way. When tasting this wine, you can expect to taste notes of cherry, strawberry, nutmeg, and plum, as well as subtle notes of apricot and clove. 

Red Wine Glasses Make a Difference

If you want to enjoy every nuance of Barbera wine, it’s best to serve it in a red wine glass. The larger bowl of a red wine glass allows the wine to cover more surface area and mix with more air. This has the effect of developing the wine's aromas and flavors even further and allowing you to experience it in its full complexity.

Enjoy Barbera Wine in a Red Wine Glass

What’s the Best Temperature for Barbera wine?

Barbera wine is a light red wine, so it’s best served slightly below room temperature (typically 55-64 ̊ F). Most Americans drink their red wine too warm. Cooler temperatures help highlight the wine's crispness, freshness, and tartness. 

Serving Temperature for Barbera Wine is Slightly Below Room Temp

Acidity & Tannins in Barbera Wine

Barbera is an acidic wine. This acidity makes your mouth water and conveys a sense of crisp freshness to your senses. Barbera also has low tannins, natural chemical compounds found in grape skins that cause a slight bitterness and "mouth dryness.” This combination makes Barbera wine is easy to drink without much bitterness and pairs well with rich, flavorful foods.

What Should You Serve With Barbera Wine?

When pairing wines, it’s important to consider the wine's place of origin. Since Barbera is common among more pastoral and salt-of-the-earth regions in Northern Italy, it’s not surprising that it pairs well with earthy comfort foods like red meats, potatoes, root vegetables, cheeses, and herbs.

The acidity in this wine also balances well with the fats of meats and cheeses, making Barbera excellent for pairing with anything from pizza to sausage to mushroom risotto to spaghetti and meatballs. It truly is a versatile wine that will remain a favorite for millions and earn the love and respect of millions more as they try it for the first time. You know, people just like you!

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Rosé of Sangiovese


Sangiovese can be found in both the Chianti and Montalcino regions of Tuscany (it all sounds so romantic, right?) and is known for producing classic medium-bodied wines. Rosé wine is actually made from red grapes, and this is where the Rosé of Sangiovese comes to play. Crisp, fruit-forward, and easy-to-drink, it's everything you want in your bottle of Rosé and more.



Big, bold, and full of flavor—exactly what you’d expect an Italian wine to be! This classic Italian grape produces some of Italy’s most straightforward red wines and is often used as a blending grape. Not here, though. We let Montepulciano do the heavy lifting as a heavy red wine and shine on its own. If you enjoy the smell of leather bound books, nibbling on dried fruit, and complementary notes of bitter, dark chocolate and sweet plums, you will love this Italian wine. No need to pair it with any certain dish—Montepulciano tastes great with all the Italian classics.

Cabernet Sauvignon


If Pinot Noir is the light and juicy queen of reds, Cabernet Sauvignon is her bolder, heavier, meatier sister. Often referred to as just “cab,” it’s the wine of France’s Bordeaux and California’s Napa Valley. There’s nothing subtle about Cabernet Sauvignon—high in alcohol, full-bodied and robust, you can usually find this red served with a ribeye, New York Strip, or filet mignon (re: carnivores love cab). Classic cabs usually offer tasting notes of chocolate, coffee, and darker fruits like prunes and plums. The Unprecedented Cabernet Sauvignon is as classic as they come, and we highly recommend letting the bottle sit and mellow until your next red meat and potatoes dinner!

Pinot Grigio

La Pluma

If you’re looking for more zest in your life, a bottle of Pinot Grigio can provide that. We included a classic Pinot Grigio in the La Pluma collection because we’re all about light and easy here, which is exactly what this grape from Italy is. It has that dry sense of humor that seems so effortless with a punchy acidity to keep you on your toes, all while offering notes of lemon, limes, green apples, and honeysuckle. Long story short; when it’s been a heavy day and your soul is seeking light things only, you’ll be happy to have this bottle on hand.

Pinot Noir


We couldn’t create the In Good Taste Unprecedented collection without the Golden Retriever of wines: Pinot Noir. Pinot is likable, it’s easy, and its natural state of being is simply charming. It’s an incredibly easy red wine to love, which is why so many people do. The grape itself is from the Burgundy region of France, but has made its way to California, Oregon, Australia, Italy, Argentina, and Germany since. Our Pinot Noir has no surprise twists—it’s a classic light red with just the right amount of sweetness to keep you coming back for another glass (or two).

Coteaux Bourguignons


The Burgundy region of France is home to their best Pinot Noirs, but we took the grapes into our own hands to create something extra special with our Coteaux Bourguignons. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, which results in a French red that’s light in body but full in flavor. The ripest blueberries and freshest herbs can be easily detected in this French burgundy blend. May we suggest pairing it with some creamy brie and freshly baked bread? It’s a oui-ning combo.



A little sweet. A little tart. A little salty? You truly get it all with this white Italian wine. If you're into that biting acidity, Verdicchio will probably be high on your list of most-loved wines from our Andiamo collection. Citrus fruits like mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit are at the forefront, but what really sets this Italian wine apart is its distinct notes of almond. While our Verdicchio can start out tasting a bit tart, the more you sip, the smoother it becomes. In fact, we suggest approaching it as an aperitif (Italian for an alcoholic drink sipped before a meal to stimulate the appetite) to experience its full effect.


Côtes du Rhône White


This was one of our first French wines to join the Passport collection and one sip will explain why. Some background on the Rhône Valley in France: While this region is known for its dark, juicy reds, a very small amount of special white wines are made in the Rhône Valley. Our Côtes du Rhône is packed with French-perfected, floral flavor and Old-World charm. Its natural tang paired with the weighty Marsanne grape and aromatic Roussanne grape results in a crisp, savory sip that’ll transport you to a sunbathing chair by the Rhône itself.


Bordeaux Rouge


When you picture medieval folk sitting around a feast with goblets of wine, chances are they were drinking Bordeaux. This wine has been made in France since forever and is arguably the most classic French wine out there. Bordeaux is known for its full body, smoky notes, and rich, oaky taste. If you love cabs, chances are you will adore Bordeaux. For our Passport wines, we had to include this classic French red for you to sip and enjoy to your heart’s content. Best savored over a rich meal like lamb ragu, ratatouille, or BBQ.

Ventoux Rosé


You probably know that the Tour de France is held on Ventoux Mountain in France, but did you know that the same area is known for its high-altitude rosé? This is the kind of quintessential French rosé that you don’t need to spin your wheels over—it’s simply delicious, crisp, and perfect for warm weather. Despite its delicate, pale pink color, each sip is lush with flavor, from tropical passionfruit and zesty citrus to refreshing melon. This has the potential to be your new summer go-to, so we’d suggest stocking up.



Wild Child

Say “¡Hola!” to Spain’s main grape: Tempranillo. This red grape put Rioja wine on the map and is un vino tinto classico. It’s best compared to a classic cab, but with a bit more unique magic that’s hard to put your finger on, which is why it’s a part of our Wild Child line. This medium- to full-bodied wine with its relatively higher tannins usually offers complex notes of cherry, fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill. This is the type of red wine you want to buy and pour for a Latin-infused meal; think carne asada, tacos al carbon, or just perfectly cooked steak fajita meat.


La Pluma

We knew the only red in the La Pluma collection had to be exceptionally good and exceptionally light. That’s why including a Grenache was a no-brainer. If smooth, fruit-forward, light-bodied reds appeal to your tastebuds, this could be your new favorite. The grape itself is tricky; depending on the climate of where its grown, Grenache wines could be light, dense, or somewhere in the middle. La Pluma’s version has all the airiness and flavor notes we wanted in our Grenache, which is how we know you’ll love it. Get the most of this red by pairing it with roasted meats, spice-heavy vegetables, and Mexican-inspired dishes with lots of cumin.




This grape goes by different names in most European countries, but what remains the same is its fruity floral nature. Delicate in every way and extremely quaffable, this wine is as dainty as they come.



We really try not to play favorites at In Good Taste, but there is just something about an Italian Barbera that hits different in the best way. Barberas are the perfect wine for pizza night; they're low in alcohol, and medium-bodied but taste super light, and their berry and plum flavors pair incredibly well with savory tomato sauce and cheese! Another fun thing about Barberas? They actually taste great when chilled, which is not something we're in the habit of suggesting for our red wines. Our Italian Barbera lies somewhere between the body of a cab and a pinot and is the ideal choice for a "ladies who lunch" kind of afternoon.


Wild Child

We couldn't not have a weird white in the mix, right?! The Vermentino grape is native along the coast of Italy on the island of Sardinia (yeah, like the fish). Because of its origin, this grape offers a salty, crisp flavor that's incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. We say it's "weird" only because it's not widely known by name, but chances are you've probably had it before if you've ever ordered white wine in an Italian restaurant. If you love peaches and lemons and get a kick out of anything that reminds you of the sea, our Vermentino is the perfect Italian white to experience on a sunny day outside.




For the Chardonnay lovers who are looking to dig a bit deeper in the world of bold whites, a Viognier (pronounced vee-own-yay) could be your next big adventure. Viogniers tend to have more range; while they can be creamy with hints of vanilla like their Chardonnay counterpart, they also offer lighter, fruitier flavors like tangerine, mango, and honeysuckle. It’s still a more full-bodied white wine, but unlike Chardonnay, it’s softer on acidity and more perfumed. Spend an afternoon with a glass of Viognier amongst the flowers and it’ll all make sense.


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