Barbera d’Asti docg

The Vine Variety

vitigno-barberaAltough we can reasonably assume that Barbera was cultivated in this area since the Middle Ages, the first historical document that indicates its presence, a cadastral act of the City of Chieri, is dated 1512. Thanks to an intense cultivation over all this area, the Barbera soon became the wine that farmers destined to their own consumption. This daily consumption has significantly contributed to create in time its specific identity that we can find even today.

The Barbera quickly spread throughout all the Monferrato, the Astesano and the Alexandrian. Furthermore, thanks to its inclusion in the first version of the “Ampelography”, written in 1798 by Count Nuvolone, it became one of the recognized Piedmontese grape varieties. It is precisely in this period that Barbera conquered the big neighboring cities and later, thanks to the newly realised railroad to the port of Genoa, also the international markets.

After a long period in which it continued to be cultivated over all this area, the Barbera d’Asti has known a new revival since the 80s, thanks to a group of farmers that decided to increase its quality through a great work in the fields and in the wineries.

The Docg

istantanee di vino 02The Barbera d’Asti was recognized as a DOC (Controlled Designation of Origin) in 1970; in 2000 three different sub-zones were included in its specification: the one of Nizza (that has became an independent DOC in 2016), the one of Tinella and the one of Colli Astiani. Finally, in 2008 the Barbera d’Asti has been recognized as a Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (DOCG).

The Barbera grapes are cultivated on the sunniest hills in the Asti and in the Monferrato areas. Usually they are harvested in the second half of September. This cultivation process is unique for all its varieties, and it is aimed to improve the quality of the Barbera wine. Conversely, two vinification methods are used to produce the wine in the wineries.

In fact, next to the traditional vinification in steel, that is used to produce more fresh and immediate wines, the use of casks and barrels has been developed over years. This second vinification method is used to produce the Superior quality, which is intended to a consumption postponed in time. The Barbera d’Asti, indeed, can wait for years for the best time to be consumed.

>> Download the disciplinary

The Tasting

wild_wine_02The DOCG Barbera d’Asti is a ruby red color wine, bright and deep, that turns to garnet in time. It has intense, vigorous and alcoholic smells. When it is young the DOCG Barbera d’Asti is distinguished by vinous notes, that are accompained by a large bouquet of red fruits, crunchy as first and then mature such as cherry, blackberry, raspberry and plum. The Superior variety, due to its aging in woods, is also enriched with spicy notes, such as vanilla and cocoa, that give life to a complex wine.

When it is in mouth the DOCG Barbera d’Asti is immediate, thanks to a nice acid note that prepares us to a dry and intense wine, with a good presence in the center of the mouth, where the fruit taste combines with a delicate floreal note. The DOCG Barbera d’Asti is characterized by a pleasant flavor, and it presents itself as a round wine, well balanced in its different sensory components. The Superior variety gives us more complex sensations, with notes of cocoa, vanilla and coffee that blend well with the sweetness of the fruit taste, that is still present.

Overall the DOCG Barbera d’Asti, especially in the Superior variety, looks like an intense and persistent wine, balanced in its hard and soft components, from wich emerges a freshness that makes every tasting unique.

General notes

Barbera is one of the most representative grape varieties in Piedmont and covers approximately 30% of the 43 000 hectares of vineyards in the region. Originally from the Monferrato district, the grape variety is cultivated mainly in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, where it reaches its maximum expression in Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato, two wines which were given the denomination of origin in 1970. Barbera d’Asti is a wine linked with old farming traditions, which has succeeded in responding to different needs and tastes. Today it undoubtedly represents, possibly more than any other wine, a constantly evolving product, which grows following new knowledge in the viticultural and oenological field and which, in terms of quality and quantity, can be presented to a public which is both curious, demanding and vast. It is fully deserving of consideration as one of the most important Italian reds and obtains increasing appreciation at international level.

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The Superiore version, obtained with meticulous care and selection of the grapes in the vineyard, is matured in the cellar for at least 12 months, during which it has to spend at least 6 months in wooden barrels, completed by a period of ageing in the bottle. It can only be released for sale from January 1st two years after harvesting. These are wines with a long cellar life, which can be appreciated even after 10 years in the bottle.

The colour is ruby red, particularly intense in the Superiore type, tending towards garnet with age. The perfume is intense, vinous when young, and persistent: cherries, plums and dark berries prevail, evolving into scents of jam and fruit preserved in spirit, followed by more or less intense balsamic, spicy and sometimes floral notes; with ageing in wood it develops scents of cinnamon, cocoa and liquorice. It is full to taste, exceptionally warm and harmonious. Maturity adds the complexity and richness of sweet velvety tannins and lingeringly persistent scent and flavour.

From the 2000 harvest, within the context of the “Superiore” type of wine, three areas of particular prestige have been created within the production zone: NIZZA, TINELLA and COLLI ASTIANI, defined by law as ”subzones”. With restricted territorial identities and even stricter production rules, Barbera d’Asti Superiore is enriched with new, high quality proposals which are recognisable by the wording on the label.

Technical card Nizza

Production zone: the entire area of the following municipalities: Agliano, Belveglio, Calamandrana, Castel Boglione, Castelnuovo Belbo, Castelnuovo Calcea, Castel Rocchero, Cortiglione, Incisa Scappacino, Mombaruzzo, Mombercelli, Nizza Monferrato, Vaglio Serra, Vinchio, Bruno, Rocchetta Palafea, Mosca, San Marzano Oliveto;

Grapes: 90 to 100% Barbera (up to a maximum of 10% other non-aromatic red grape varieties which may be cultivated in the Piemonte Region);

Minimum natural alcohol content by volume of the grapes: minimum 12.5% vol.

Production yields: maximum 7 tons, corresponding to 49 hectolitres per hectare;

Minimum aging required and release for consumption:
18 months from January 1st after harvesting, with at least six months spent in wooden barrels.

Wine characteristics:
Minimum total alcohol content by volume: 13% vol.
Minimum total acidity: 5 ‰;
Minimum net dry extract: 26 ‰;

Technical card Tinella

Production zone: the entire area of the following municipalities: Costigliole d’Asti, Calosso, Castagnole Lanze, Coazzolo, Isola d’Asti (exclusively within the area on the right-hand side of the Asti – Montegrosso road);

Grapes: 90 to 100% Barbera (up to a maximum of 10% other non-aromatic, red grape-varieties which may be cultivated in the Piemonte Region);

Minimum natural alcohol content by volume of the grapes: minimum 12.5% vol.

Production yields: maximum 7 tons, corresponding to 49 hectolitres per hectare;

Minimum aging required and release for consumption:
24 months from October 1st after harvesting, with at least six months spent in wooden barrels and 6 months in the bottle;

Wine characteristics:
Minimum total alcohol content by volume: 13% vol.
Minimum total acidity: 5 ‰;
Minimum net dry extract: 26 ‰;

Technical card Colli Astiani

Production zone: : the entire area of the following municipalities: Azzano, Mongardino, Montaldo Scarampi, Montegrosso d’Asti, Rocca d’Arazzo, Vigliano, the districts Montemarzo and San Marzanotto Valle Tanaro in the municipality of Asti, Isola d’Asti and the area on the left-hand side of the Asti-Montegrosso state road;

Grapes: 90 to 100% Barbera (up to a maximum of 10% other non-aromatic, red grape-varieties which may be cultivated in the Piemonte Region);

Minimum natural alcohol content by volume of the grapes: minimum 12,5% vol.;

Production yields: maximum 7 tons, corresponding to 49 hectolitres per hectare;

Minimum aging required and release for consumption:
24 months from October 1st after harvesting, with at least six months spent in wooden barrels and 6 months in the bottle;

Wine characteristics:
Minimum total alcohol content by volume: 13% vol.
Minimum total acidity: 5 ‰;
Minimum net dry extract: 26 ‰;

BARBERA D’ASTI D.O.C.G.

The NEW disciplinary d.o.c.g. (as from the 2008 vintage) »

Switching to d.o.c.g. (old Decree – as from the 2008 vintage) »

BARBERA D’ASTI D.O.C.

Valid for vintages 2007 and earlier »

Notification of producers – New D.O.C.G. e D.O.C. (download Italian pdf) »

Decreto ministeriale etichettaturatransitoria 2014 Barbera D.O.C.G. »

In the basic version it perfectly accompanies a complete meal. The “Superiore” versions go well with haute cuisine, meat dishes and game. Ideal with cheeses, especially mature or blue cheeses.

Production zone

The Barbera grape variety

This is the most widespread red grape variety cultivated In Piedmont. Barbera is also a variety of importance outside our Region, in areas such as Oltrepò Pavese, Colli Piacentini, Franciacorta, Umbria, Campania and Sicily; it is also present on the other side of the Atlantic, in California and South America for example.

The leaf is average in size, pentagon shaped with five lobes, with a dark green blade, flat or slightly cupped, with a finely puckered texture. The ripe bunch is average in size, pyramid shaped with small twigs or a twigged cylinder shape, quite compact; the light green peduncle is medium to long. The berry is blue-black and average in size.

Germination: average-early (during the first half of April).
Grape ripening: average-late (first ten days of October).

An averagely flourishing grape variety with considerably high fertility and constant production. It copes well with various training and pruning techniques, the most common being the espalier system with Guyot pruning, leaving just one fruit cane; it adapts well to short pruning. Barbera is quite resistant to mildew but is susceptible to mould and acid rot in the bunch. Its grapes, which have high levels of fixed acidity and anthocyans, are used in a wide range of wines, ranging from young, sometimes sparkling, reds to important wines destined for aging.

Trend in production

Barbera d’Asti – Production
VintageExtent cultivated (hectares)Wine Production (hectolitres)
Data sources: Asti and Alessandria Chamber of Commerce; Valoritalia; Regione Piemonte
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
20004.836215.602
20014.846247.526
20024.968225.636
20035.011229.578
20044.698255.960
20054.896244.094
20065.159276.368
20075.403282.715
2008 docg4.934229.567
2009 docg4.283231.946
2010 docg4.158221.170
2011 docg4.387232.673
2012 docg4.537223.057
2013 docg3.956226.806
2014 docg3.915206.339

n.d.: data unavailable

Barbera d’Asti – Bottled wine
CALENDAR YEARHectolitresNo. of bottles (0.75 litre capacity)
Data source: Valoritalia
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
2009144.89219.318.924
2010173.47323.129.706
2011178.55223.806.994
2012157.68621.024.744
2013157.59521.012.708
2014166.04622.139.708
Data sources: Asti and Alessandria Chamber of Commerce; Valoritalia; Regione Piemonte
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
Barbera d’Asti Superiore Tinella – Production
VintageExtent cultivated (hectares)Wine production (hectolitres)
200000
2001125
2002270
2003271
2004135
2005131
2006140
2007133
2008 docg159
2009 docg116
2010 docg116
2011 docg0,329
2012 docg3105
2013 docg0,2914
2014 docg0,6226

n.d.: data unavailable

Barbera d’Asti Superiore Tinella – Bottled wine
CALENDAR YEARHectolitresNo. of bottles (0.75 litre capacity)
Data source: Valoritalia
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
201013,001.733
20114500
2012141.861
201300
2014192.479
Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza – Production
VintageExtent cultivated (hectares)Wine production (hectolitres)
Data sources: Asti and Alessandria Chamber of Commerce; Valoritalia; Regione Piemonte
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
2000532.185
2001582.778
2002461.740
20031024.134
2004783.593
2005863.864
2006843.952
2007944.178
2008 docg853.640
2009 docg753.996
2010 docg693.532
2011 docg813.612
2012 docg893.590
2013 docg783.654
2014 docg883.957

n.d.: data unavailable

Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza – Bottled wine
CALENDAR YEARHectolitresNo. of bottles (0.75 litre capacity)
Data source: Valoritalia
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
20101.541205.461
20111.428190.341
20121.311174.800
20131.402186.959
20142.161288.128
Barbera d’Asti Superiore Colli Astiani
o Astiano – Production
VintageExtent cultivated (hectares)Wine production (hectolitres)
Data sources: Asti and Alessandria Chamber of Commerce; Valoritalia; Regione Piemonte
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
2000290
2001293
20028292
20036245
20042105
2005278
20063125
2007279
2008 docg146
2009 docg259
2010 docg150
2011 docg262
2012 docg161
2013 docg161
2014 docg264

n.d.: data unavailable

Barbera d’Asti Superiore Colli Astiani
o Astiano –Bottled wine
CALENDAR YEARHectolitresNo. of bottles (0.75 litre capacity)
Data source: Valoritalia
Data processing: Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Asti e del Monferrato
2010425.697
2011405.308
2012162.133
2013192.507
2014435.777

Curiosities

Barbera ciarìa, Barbera ‘d Davi, Barbrassa and Barbera dou ciorniou are local cultivars (now rare or extremely rare) of the Piedmont germoplasm, which must not be confused with Barbera. In most cases, the Barberùn indicated in various areas of Piedmont, are separate grape varieties from Barbera. The only thing that the Barbera bianca piemontese gape variety has in common with Barbera is the elongated shape of the berry. Barbera sarda from Sardinia corresponds to the Carigna.