Piemonte - Barbera
History: Established as a DOC in 1994
Vineyard Area: 4,137 ha / 10,218 acres (2014)
Production: 260,500 hl / 2,894,000 cases (2014)
Principal White Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Cortese, Erbaluce, Favorita, Moscato, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc
Principal Red Grape Varieties: Albarossa, Barbera, Bonarda, Brachetto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Croatina, Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Pinot Nero, Syrah
Some Styles and Wine Composition:
- Bianco (Wh, WhFr, WhSw, WhFrSw): Minimum 60% Chardonnay, Cortese, Erbaluce, and/or Favorita; maximum 40% OANWG
- Chardonnay (Wh, WhFr): Minimum 85% Chardonnay + OANWG
- Cortese (Wh, WhFr): Minimum 85% Cortese + OANWG
- Rosso (Rd, RdFr, RdSw, RdFrSw): Minimum 60% Barbera, Croatina, Dolcetto, Freisa, and/or Nebbiolo + OANRG
- Albarossa (Rd): Minimum 85% Albarossa + OANRG
- Barbera (Rd, RdFr): Minimum 85% Barbera + OANRG
- Freisa (Rd): Minimum 85% Freisa + OANRG
Piedmont has more DOCG titles (15 as of early 2011) than any other Italian wine region – a statistic which strongly supports its status as Italy's finest wine region.
The first Piedmont wine to be granted DOCG status was Barolo, followed just a few months later by its neighbor Barbaresco. Barolo was one of the first DOCG wines in Italy, promoted to this newly created classification on the same day as Tuscany's Brunello di Montalcino, on 1 July 1980.
Crowd pleasers such as Moscato are made alongside stubborn, tannic Nebbiolo reds, while familiar varieties such as Barbera hold equal rank with obscurities such as Erbaluce and Ruche. Piedmont DOCGs are concentrated mostly to the south of Alba and Asti, at the meeting point of the Alps and the Apennines. The majority are found within a few miles of the Tanaro river which bisects Piedmont, leaving only Ghemme and Gattinara (up near Lake Maggiore and the border with Lombardy) to fly the flag for the region's north – though in 2010 they gained an ally in the form of Caluso.
There will no doubt be new additions to the list of Piedmont DOCGs in the coming decade, particularly given Italy's apparent determination to claw backs its share of the world wine market. Thanks to the economic advantages of a DOCG label, there will be no shortage of candidates vying for promotion.