Synonym: None, only the same name with qualifying adjectives: B. dolce (sweet), B. forte (strong), B. grossa (big) etc.
Commonly mistaken for: Barbera rossa, Barbera riccia o rissa, Barbera bianca, Barbera ciarža, †Ughetta, Besgano, Cassolo, Fresia, Olivella, Schiaccarella, Vespolina.
Origin: Probably the original name of this variety was Grisa or Grisola, word that unites the Barbera to the gooseberry (Ribes grossularia L.) for its acidity. Only beginning from the end of the XVIII century takes the name of: Barbera from Berberis v. (Crespino), another plant that has some characteristics similar to this grape. According to other authors (Conte Nuvolone 1799) it is a native vine of Piemonte (Piedmont) particularly in the zone of Monteferrato. Today it is a variety that is found in many regions of Italy, but also in the foreign countries: Argentina, California and also in Australia.
Agronomic and environmental aspects: Good adaptability to the zones with dry and windy climates, susceptible to spring frosts. It has a preference for soils with a good percentage of clay, with medium-low fertility. Medium-long pruning is required, but can be also suitable for training systems designed for full mechanization. Good and constant yield, a thinning of bunches is advisable to avoid possible attacks of botrytis.
Diseases, pests and disorders: Good resistance to extreme weather conditions, but in sandy soils it shows potassium and boron deficiency. Medium resistance to downy mildew, sensitive to powdery mildew and botrytis.
Growing Tip: fully open, cottony, of whitish green colour with reddish edges and good density of erect hairs on tip.†††
Leaf: large size of blade, pentagonal shape, 5-lobed. Has a closed lyre shaped petiolar sinus with lobes strongly overlapping, superior side sinuses shaped like a closed lyre, while inferior are like an open lyre. The profile is flat, hairless, of a dark green colour.
Bunch: medium, of pyramidal form, with wings, with densely distributed berries; long peduncle of brown-red colour. [231g 22/03/2005]†††
Berry: Medium dimensions, elliptic; skin of uniform dark-blue colour, thin thick covered by high bloom.
The wine made from the grapes of this variety is generally of red ruby colour, from the characteristic delicate vinous perfume, fruity, with a good body and acidity. The wine is also tannic because of the richness in anthocyanins of the berries, so the resulting wines are deep, purplish black and sometimes fragrant when they are young, but tend to early browning and lightening as they age. Tannin from oak aging can help in some cases to stabilise colour. When cultivated in temperate areas and with a good management of the vineyard, Barbera can exhibit an attractive ripe red fruit, tied up by vanilla, smoky or toasty flavours added by barrel aging. In Italy it gives origin to seven different DOC (Barbera dei Colli Bolognesi, Barbera dei Colli Piacentini, Barbera dei Colli Tortonesi, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Asti and Barbera del Monferrato) and to many others wines.