Review: Luisi Barbera d’Asti

Barbera’s not a wine grape you hear about everyday. In fact, before I drank the 2011 Luisi Barbera d’Asti, I had only had Barbera in blends before.

So what is Barbera all about?

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Barbera is one of the most popular grapes planted in Italy. You can also find it in Australia, thanks to UC Davis. It’s also grown in California.

Barbera wines run the gamut from fruity to medium-bodied to concentrated and intense. Often, they have a high acidity level.

When I drank the Luisi, it was ruby red and tanngyyy. After letting it sit in mouth for a bit, it felt like pop rocks. Who knew an Italian wine would bring me back to the schoolyard days?

There are two kinds of Barbera: Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba, which signify the region in Italy where the grapes come from. Asti is drier and Alba tends to be rainier and the climates impact the flavor of the wine. Luca Currado Vietti, owner of Vietti Winery, told Wine Spectator that Asti and Alba are like Napa and Sonoma, in the sense that they are two wonderful, neighboring wine regions. Some say d’Albas are fruitier and d’Asti’s are more intense, but I haven’t tried the former myself, so I can’t confirm.

I’ll add a Barbera d’Alba to my list of wines I have to try, but I won’t be getting a Vietti wine. They cost upwards of $80, which is way out of my budget, I mean out of this universe, out. If you have a suggestion for a Barbera d’Alba under $20–under $15, even better–let me know in the comments.

I wouldn’t recommend the Luisi Barbera d’Asti to everyone–especially not to those who prefer smooth wines that aren’t explosive on the taste buds.

However, if you like thick and bold, you’d probably enjoy this Barbera.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Luisi
  • Type: Barbera d’Asti
  • Origin: Italy
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: $16.95
  • Alcohol content:13%
  • When to drink: Bring this to dinner with the in-laws, not to your friend’s house party.

4 comments for “Review: Luisi Barbera d’Asti

  1. Rlobo
    April 7, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Pop rocks is a very good description! I thought I hadn’t airated it enough but no, this wine is 3 dimentional in the aspect of texture on the tongue! It creates a fizz effect, rolls over the tongue with unique acidic yet palatable finess, I am. New fan.

  2. wineforthewin
    April 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Love that “palatable finesse” description. Definitely fits! Thanks for reading the blog! Have any Barbera suggestions for me?

  3. wine whisperer
    June 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    It’s pretty amazing that you’re writing wine reviews that you want taken seriously, when you’ve never even tried a Barbera from Alba. Additionally, your facts are misguided. Vietti’s Barbera’s from Alba do not cost upwards of $70. Mid $20’s is more like it, with their Asti in the mid teens.

    • wineforthewin
      June 23, 2015 at 3:42 am

      Send me over the name of the Barbera d’Alba in the mid-$20s! I’ll check it out. And I’m no wine expert — never said I was. I’m a woman who loves wine and likes to write about my experience drinking it 😉

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