One of the most important Italian grapes, the Barbera produces half of all the red wine found in northern Italy. Barbera is productive and grows very well in warm to hot climates. Known for its low tannins and high acidity (hard to acheive in hotter climes) the Barbera can range from light and tart to hearty and robust, factors which are determined by the age of the vines and the amount of oak ageing. Flavors and aromas of cherries, plums, red currants and raspberries are common.
The best Barbera comes from the Peidmont region of northwestern Italy, also widely accepted as its birthplace. Look for Barberas from the towns of Alba, Asti and in the hills around Monferrato. Barbera also grows well in Argentina and the Central Valley of California, likely from hitching a ride with Italian immigrants around the turn of the 20th century.