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Flavor Profiles Barbera D'asti Vs D'alba

What are the differences in flavor profile between Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba?
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont and contributes half of its DOC red wine output. It is grown in many areas, and is the sole or main grape in Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato (both minimum 85%), and Barbera d'Alba (100%). There is considerable variation in style, especially from one estate to the next.

It is difficult to generalize, but many believe that the Asti version is usually lighter and more vividly etched with acidity than the fuller, fleshier Alba counterpart. However, this is contradicted by some modern growers such as La Spinetta, whose Barbera d'Asti "Ca' di Pian" can be remarkably dense and powerful.

For a fun exercise, buy and taste side-by-side the Barbera "Tre Vigne" of Vietti, who offers this label in both an Asti and Alba denomination. By the way, the Alba bottling is the more expensive of the two.

About Our Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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