Home > Barbera, Italian wines, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #84: Grape Trivia – Barbera

Weekly Wine Quiz #84: Grape Trivia – Barbera

December 7, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

wine quiz pictureThe Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to the weekend and your new wine quiz!

We are continuing our grape trivia series, with the focus again on the red grapes, and today’s subject is Barbera.

It is interesting to see the level of difference in the available information for different grapes, especially when it comes to the historical data (not that it is unexpected). When it comes to the grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon, absolute majority of the different sources converge on the 17th century as the time when Cabernet Sauvignon become known as the particular grape. When it comes to Barbera, the range of opinion is rather stunning – some sources say that Barbera was mentioned for the first time only in 18th century, some say it was 13th, and some of them put it even back to the 7th. Therefore, I can’t tell you when Barbera first became known as a grape, but as a fun fact, do you know that Barbera is 3rd most planted grape in Italy, after Sangiovese and Montepulciano? Today, there are about 70,000 acres of Barbera planted throughout the Italy

Barbera is one of the main grapes in Piedmont, where it is often planted right next to its noble neighbour, Nebbiolo. Typically Nebbiolo takes over the best spots on the hills, and Barbera is planted right under. Some of the best Barbera wines are produced in Asti, Alba and Monferrato areas in Piedmont, with Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato having the DOCG  status (highest quality standing in Italian wine classification). Of course Barbera is planted in many other regions in Italy, such as Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and others. Barbera spread out all over the world with Italian immigrants, nowadays planted in Australia, United States (California, Texas and others), Argentina, Brazil, Israel and other countries.

Barbera grapes have dark thin skin. Barbera has a well known tendency for overproduction, so the plantings have to be controlled to achieve higher quality of the wines. Barbera typically has high level of acidity and low tannins, which makes winemaking somewhat challenging to produce wines which will be able to age well – of course ageing in the oak barrels helps with that. One of the well known characteristics of Barbera wines is intense berries aroma, and the wines typically have a medium body, at least in the classical Italian versions ( some of the New World Barberas can be quite bombastic). Barbera wines are generally food friendly with their inherent acidity, and they complement quite well a wide range of traditional Italian dishes.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Based on the latest DNA analysis, which well known Spanish grape appears to be a close relative of Barbera?

Q2: What well-known grape became popular blending partner of Barbera as of late?

Q3: The new technique was introduced in making the wines out of Barbera in the second half of the 20th century, which helped to improved the quality of the wines. Which one do you think it was:

a. Malolactic fermentation

b. Fermentation and aging in the small oak casks

c. Carbonic maceration

d. Reverse osmosis

Q4: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Barbera-based wines rated in the Classic category

Q5: Fill in the blanks: Barbera typically ripens two weeks later than _____, but at the same time it is two weeks earlier than ____.

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and your weekend! Cheers!

  1. December 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    1. Mourvèdre/Monastrell.
    2. Nebbiolo.
    3. B.
    4. False. 1997 Barbera d’Alba Scarrone Vigna Vecchia.
    5. Dolcetto. Nebbiolo.

    • talkavino
      December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      nice work! I thought you don’t like Italian wines : )

  2. December 8, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I echo Mr. “No Barbera For Me”. Can I throw in a bonus question?

    • talkavino
      December 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Absolutely! What is the bonus question?

      • December 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

        Outside of Asti is a place which pays homage to a man who helped with the unification of Italy, commercialization of Italy’s wine industry, and houses the first regional enoteca in the Piedmont region. Name it.

        • talkavino
          December 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm

          Thia was an excellent bonus question, Alissa! I will need to think about incorporating something like that in the quizzes. So the person in your question is Camillo Paolo Filippo Giulio Benso, Count of Cavour, and the place is Grinzane Cavour, a castle where the The Cavour Regional Enoteca is located. Have you being there?

        • December 8, 2013 at 2:27 pm

          It is! And yes. Our last hurrah before having children was planes, trains, and automobiles through the Mid to Northern Italy. I’ll see if I can dig up some pics for you.

        • talkavino
          December 8, 2013 at 5:45 pm

          Sounds good, but you should make a post out of it!

  1. December 11, 2013 at 8:30 am
  2. June 28, 2014 at 9:19 am

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