Editor’s Pick: Six Great Barberas
Barbera is less well-known than Piedmont’s other red grape, Nebbiolo, yet it deserves to be more famous: It makes distinctive, food-friendly wines—deep ruby red in color, with firm acidity, bright berry-flavored fruit and low tannins. Here, six great bottles. —Ray Isle
1. 2005 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Piemonte Barbera ($11) Peppery berry flavors and a tea-leaf note define this light, vibrant Barbera.
2. 2004 Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d’ Asti ($13) Easy to drink, with cherry flavor, this wine comes from one of Piedmont’s best-known estates.
3. 2005 Rapet Barbera d’ Alba ($14) This graceful, bright red, whose name means “grape” in Piedmontese, is marked by berry fruit and a touch of vanilla.
4. 2005 Mauro Molino Barbera d’ Alba ($16) Tart, focused acidity keeps the boysenberry fruit in this intense, purple-red wine from seeming overly ripe.
5. 2005 Pertinace Barbera d’ Alba ($16) Full of bright black-raspberry flavors, this red is made by a small growers’ cooperative in Piedmont.
6. 2005 Conterno Fantino Barbera d’ Alba Vignoto ($29) This supple red from a noted Barolo producer is aged without new oak, keeping its flavors fresh.