Piedmont is best known for Nebbiolo, the famous grape that goes into Barolo and Barbaresco. But Barbera has been making a name for itself for quite some time as a grape just as worthy of your attention. You might not age Barbera for decades like you would a fine Nebbiolo, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better red for your weeknight drinking needs.
A wine that is always a terrific balance of tannins and acidity, Barbera is the wine to get you out of the winter doldrums. It’s a wine that you can look forward to at the end of a long day, but one that you won’t feel guilty about popping. Think of it like this: You’re drinking a wine from the most famous wine region in Italy, the region of kings and queens, but you’re going for the wine the locals save for themselves, because you happen to be in the know.
Renato Ratti Battaglione Barbera d’Asti is a perfect example of quality and approachability. Made by one of Barolo’s celebrated producers, the wine is textbook Barbera, delivering bursting flavors of cherries, strawberries, blackberries, and vanilla. It’s a fruit-forward wine that is incredibly easy to drink. While the tannins are present, they’re wonderfully subdued, allowing the lush fruit to shine through.
I recommend serving the wine with a slight chill, even in winter. It’s the perfect wine for pizza. You might want to buy a case, because winter isn’t showing signs of winding down just yet.