Share, Engage & Explore with Kudos 365

Local Focus – Global Reach

Posted by J Overstreet

I’ve been noticing an appealing trend on wine shelves lately - more and more Barbera. This lovely wine is easy to drink and easy to pair with food. Because it is so “quaffable,” Barbera is also a safe bet when selecting wine to take to a dinner party.

My admiration for Barbera began in 2007 when I moved to Italy for 3 years and became a big fan of the wine and food of “Bella Italia.” Last year, I visited friends who are grape growers in California and rekindled my fondness of Barbera tasting various styles throughout Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Barbera’s origins come from the Piedmont region in Italy and is the most widely planted grape of that region. Barbera, a high acid, low tannin grape was generally reduced to use as a “filler.” It wasn’t until the 1980’s, when Barbera was treated to barrel ageing, that it’s virtues emerged and it became a stand-alone wine. By barrel ageing the wine, tannins increase and the wine becomes fuller bodied. Barbera varies greatly but usually showcases red fruit (cherry, currant, raspberry) and can have nuances of chocolate, licorice, fig and toast.

The three Italian DOC’s (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) of Barbera are Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba and Barbera del Monferrato. The Barbera from Asti and Alba are probably the best versions and what I recommend if trying for the first time. Barbera is also widely grown in California, specifically booming in the Sierra Foothills region.

Keep a watchful eye on Barbera; it will soon be a bona fide member of the popular crowd.

Barbera to Try ~
Sobon Estate Barbera, Amador, $15
Renato Ratti Barbera d’Asti, $18
Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba, $20
Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato, $22
Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne, $26

I have lived on Camano Island for two years and enjoyed every minute of it but alas my time here has come to an end. My family and I are packing up and moving to California where I hope to enjoy a little warmer weather and new adventures in wine and whatever else life has to offer. If you would like to keep in touch, please feel free to follow along on my social media outlets:

Blog: www.deepredcellar.com (a post every week or two on wine knowledge, stories, etc. - much like you've seen on here)

Instagram: www.instagram.com/deepredcellar (daily wine-centric pictures and info.)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/deepredcellar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/deepredcellar

How can it be that summer is over! Kids are well into school, the days are shorter…and white wines are once again forgotten until next spring.

I have little prejudice when it comes to wine but I tend to drink white wine mostly during the warm months when the sun is shining and a chilled, crisp white is the perfect patio sipper.

So goodbye Chardonnay - I realize you’re the world’s most popular white grape variety but you can be fairly neutral. I mean you’re sometimes used as a blending grape! Time to move on from your green apple, pear, pineapple and mango aromas even though you can be deliciously full bodied with buttery nuances and toasty notes when aged in oak barrels.

So long Sauvignon Blanc - Let’s face it, some people have never really cared for your aromas of grass and green pepper. I will remember you more for your grapefruit, melon and gooseberry. Oh, and the fact that you pair so well with so many foods.

Farewell Riesling – I’m guessing not as many people drink you even though we are in Washington the Riesling producing wonderland, and you pair perfectly with spicy food. Your aromas of peach, nectarine, apricot, honeysuckle and jasmine will be missed.

Arrivederci Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – I know, I know, your name means gray and it seems appropriate for you to be around for the impending gray skies but the weather will be too cold to enjoy your delicate, light bodied character. We’ve had enough of your aromas of apple, lemon, peach and minerals. And you’re just too confusing being the same grape variety from different origins.

WAIT! There is no way I can go on hiatus until spring to enjoy these beauties again. In fact, I may drink a Riesling at my favorite Thai restaurant tonight!

Your avatar
Tess • 10/10/2016 at 10:50PM • Like

Looking forward to the reds!

Your avatar
J Overstreet • 10/19/2016 at 01:42PM • Like 1

Tess, remember with those reds, the higher the alcohol content, the warmer you will feel...at least temporarily in your throat. :)

Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are they shaped differently for a reason or is it just random artistry? As is often the case in wine, tradition is the major player for the different bottle shapes. There are four main types:

Bordeaux bottles have high shoulders with straight sides for wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The high shoulders were created to help trap sediment due to prominent tannins in most of these wines.
These bottles are made of thick glass with a high punt (indentation on the bottom of the bottle).

Burgundy bottles are tall and wide with sloping shoulders for wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Pinot Gris. Much like Bordeaux bottles, these are made of thick glass. Purportedly, Burgundy bottles were the first to be created and the sloping shoulders made for easy stacking as well as achievability for glass blowers.

Champagne bottles are wide with low shoulders for wines like Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. These bottles were created out of necessity due to the pressure inside the bottles (roughly 70-90 psi). They are made of thick glass, have a high punt and low shoulders to contain the immense pressure inside the bottles. By the way, the thick corks and cages securing them are no mistake either.

German/Alsatian bottles are narrow and tall with gentle sloping shoulders for wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The slender shape and lighter weight of these bottles were made for convenient stowing on ships during their voyage along trade routes in the early years.

Hopefully this bit of trivia may make shopping easier - especially the next time you and your fellow wine shopper are both trying to spot that last bottle of Bordeaux!

Your avatar
Amy • 09/29/2016 at 10:50PM • Like

Interesting and informative, thanks!

Your avatar
J Overstreet • 10/02/2016 at 05:46PM • Like

Thank you Amy. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

Get Involved with Your Community

Join Kudos to share your expertise

Share your photography. Showcase your events, expertise, and art. Connect with what's happening.

Feedback
×