Barbera has long been of the greats. Best known from Piedmont for sure, but is grown actually throughout the country in many different soils and, surprisingly, is the third most planted native grape in all Italy. Traditionally it can be found at a local trattoria poured into a (mostly) clean flat bottom water glass (or ‘paisano’ glass) in Italy for €1.50. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those, but they can be overly simple. Barbera has very little natural tannin but gobs of natural acidity, making for bright easy drinking red. But over the past twenty years we’re seeing better and better Barberas every vintage. Don’t fall for the old higher price tag = better wine trick as most often those flashy Barberas are exposed to far too much oak. Barbera absorbs wood flavors and tannins more easily than many other varieties, so even a little bit of new oak can torpedo an otherwise delicious wine.