Spotlight on Barbera

Spotlight on Barbera

SUNDAY, NOV 5 2017
TOM SINTON

About Barbera
Barbera is a red grape from Italy and currently it is the third most planted red grape in Italy (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It is bright in color and expresses red fruit flavors.  

What is the origin of Barbera?
Barbera can be traced back to the thirteenth century at Monferrato, part of Piemonte, a mountainous region of northern Italy that borders France.  During the 19th century Italian immigrants brought this grape to America and Argentina. It is thought to be related to Mourvedre, a Spanish grape.  

Where are the most popular regions for this varietal today?
Northwestern Italy has the most plantings of Barbera. The Asti region in Piedmont is considered to be the "heart" of Barbera. In other locations throughout Italy, Barbera is often blended with other varietals. It is also found in California (Sonoma, Napa, Sierra Foothills, Central Valley), Oregon and Washington as well as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, and Greece, Romania, and Slovenia.  

What are the characteristics of Barbera?
Barbera is usually deep ruby in color with bright red fruit characteristics, moderate tannins, and crisp acidity. Flavor profiles can include cherry, strawberry, blackberry, baking spices, and minerals. It can be light to medium bodied depending on the climate and soil conditions. It ranges from those lighter more- drinkable-now, to those that can stand up to oak and cellaring. It is a vigorous wine and typically ripens before other Italian grapes such as Nebbiolo and Sangiovese and can be grown in cooler locations in less desirable soil conditions.

Why did you choose to plant Barbera?
Barbera’s beautiful color, excellent acidity, and fruitiness makes it an ideal variety for the Sierra Foothills.  With warm days and cool nights at Starfield, Barbera produces a medium-bodied, fruity red wine that’s terrific for everyday drinking.  California’s best Barberas have historically come from Foothills vineyards, and we wanted to make sure we had this delicious wine in our portfolio.       

When will it be available?
Our first harvest for Barbera was in 2016. Currently it is aging in the cellar and we anticipate bottling it and releasing it to wine club members in late 2018.

Tips for enjoying Barbera?
Barbera pairs well with food including rich dark meats, truffles, mushrooms, blue cheese, root vegetables, and sautéed or braised greens. It would be ideal with a mushroom risotto, rich pastas, or wild game and fowl.


Starfield Vineyards is an artisanal producer of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot  from the cooler hillsides of Napa Valley and Bordeaux, France.  Inspired by the “star fields” that make extraordinary wines possible in these world-renowned regions, Starfield celebrates the truly great vineyard sites that allow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to develop the optimal balance of aroma, flavor and texture.  Father and son team, Tom and Rob Sinton, bring to Starfield four generations of winegrowing experience and an intense desire to reach beyond traditional boundaries to pursue the ultimate quality in cool climate winemaking. Buy our wine online and sign up for your allocation by joining our wine club, which assures your access to these limited production Bordeaux blends for home, special occasions or as gifts for wine connoisseurs.