Nebbiolo is the grape that attracts all the oohs and aahs when anybody starts talking about red wines from Piedmont in north-west Italy. But barbera is the grape that produces some of the region's most gluggable, yet satisfying, wines: it has more flesh on its bones than furry, tannic old nebbiolo, and it has more grip and grunt than that other, lighter-flavoured, juicy Piedmontese red grape, dolcetto, making it the perfect partner for an everyday dish like pizza with chicory and salsicce (sausage). One of the qualities that makes barbera such a delicious food wine is its acidity: there's a mouth-watering freshness to it, as well as all that plum flavour and tongue-hugging tannin, that tingles the tastebuds and helps cut through the silky, salty fat of the salsicce. This juicy acidity is also proving to be a boon for barbera grown in Australian vineyards: the high acid helps the grapes retain their lively flavours late into the growing season, even during those hot, dry vintages we've experienced recently. Barbera clearly has lots of potential here as a top-quality alternative grape.
This Piedmont wine’s terrific acidity makes it a perfect match for many kinds of food, especially salty salsicce.