8 p.m., table is set and guests have already come for dinner, but something still misses. I go in my basement wine cellar to take a bottle of good red wine. When I come back curious eyes are staring at me. I show the label: Barbera d’Alba 2009 DOC Gemma.
I tell them that there are three different technical policies for the production of this wine: Barbera d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato (all of these areas are located in Piedmont).
Barbera is the most famous grape variety cultivated in Piedmont, but it can also be found in the Oltrepò Pavese and Franciacorta (Lombardy), Valpolicella (Veneto), Campania and California.
During the last decades the quality of Barbera has noticeably increased, the yiels per ha has diminished and the vinification’s methods have been improved.
In the glass it shows a brilliant ruby red colour: this grape variety is in fact rich in colour, because it is characterized by a high percentage of malvidin, an anthocyanin which is responsible for the colour of red wines.
Its aroma is intense, with notes of red fruits like strawberry, currant and black cherry, typical of wines aged in steel. The texture is full and the acid vein confers freshness and length.
In the grape variety of Barbera the concentration of tannins is low, a fact that doesn’t allow it to age as long as Nebbiolo.
It is an excellent all-course wine, which goes good with typical Piemontese first courses as tajarin or ravioli with ragout, but also with white and red meat and half-aged cheeses such as gorgonzola or castelmagno.
For lovers of tasy courses, the perfect pairing is with bagna cauda, another typical Piedmontese speciality, a sauce made with garlic, anchovies and oil.
Serving temperature: 16–18 °C