Piedmont, Italy is one of the Old World’s most famous wine regions, producing some of the world’s best wines in one small corner of Italy.
One of these is Barbera, the most widely planted red grape in Piedmont. For many years, it was made as a mass-produced table wine that was consumed throughout the country without much attention being paid to the true flavors of the grape. It wasn’t until the last couple decades that folks started giving this beauty the consideration it deserves.
This gorgeous grape embodies everything you’d want in a red wine: it’s full of fruit flavors plus some herbal notes, it’s low in tannins, and it’s high in acidity. The color is this inky deep red that is almost black but the body is opposite of that, being light and fresh in nature.
Because of the low tannic effect and high levels of acidity, this red beauty is perfect for those rich, fatty foods like cured meats and luscious cheeses, as well as earthy flavors. So basically what we’re saying is make yourself a charcuterie board and grab a bottle of Barbera to go with it!
While French cheeses are delicious and go with everything, if you focus on Italian made products, the true beauty of the Barbera really stands out. Fondita is a cow’s milk cheese that is known for being nutty and rich, and is usually the base for fondue, if that tells you anything. Then there’s Robiola which is also made from Piedmont and is therefore a born and bred brother to Barbera, and is typically unpasteurized. And if you want something a little unusual, try a Toma which has that garlicky, mushroomy flavor that makes a Barbera truly shine.
You can also have this lovely wine with red meats but you don’t want anything too smoky so go for a steak tartare or a medium rare, garlic basted filet mignon. Oddly enough, this is a wine that is just destined to be a buddy to high quality pizza. It’s so perfect for truffles and mushrooms but also garlic and herbs, so a stone-baked, mushroom white pizza paired with a Barbera is just a combination made in heaven.
We could keep going but now we’re hungry so it’s time to get some wine and cheese and have ourselves a delicious evening.
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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