tiny wine blog: The Three "B"'s

When studying northern Italy, those pesky (yet delicious) wines that began with “B” would sometimes throw a wrench in my brain when I tried to get them all straight: Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco.
I've yet to come up with a trick to remember them, other than just the brute force of sticking it in your brain.

First: appellations
I never had that much trouble with Barolo since it is one of the tastiest wines in the whole wide world.
The name “Barolo” is the name of the appellation, or delineated wine growing region in northern Italy. Did you see my post about appellations?

(If “no” then there may be a chance I haven't written it yet)

So the basic gist of appellations is a way to delineate (I love that word) a chunk of land. For a wine to have the name of appellation, it has to follow certain rules that go along with it. These laws can dictate which grapes can be grown, and how, and where, and there can be an official government taster involved and there are even rules whether you can or can't grow a mustache (er, no). In theory.

But, right. The thinking is that it gives you, the consumer, some sort of guarantee that if you buy a wine, for example a Barolo, that every bottle you buy will come from the same area and made with the same grapes and be generally of the same quality.

Got it?

Italy is funny in regards to their appellation system - funny in "we could be here for a while" but the general gist is that the two highest quality levels for Italian appellations are DOCG (highest) and DOC (There's actually another, IGT, but that is another post).

These are abbreviations for "Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita" and "Denominazione di Origine Controllata".
If you run DOCG through Babelfish it returns "Controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin"

Crap. I am really off topic. And these are supposed to be short posts.
Here's is my basic overview of the northern Italian wines that begin with the letter “B” that sometimes make my brain confused

Barolo (DOCG)

It's the name of the appellation and the wine. Located in the Piedmont (Piemonte to the Italians) region in northwest Italy. The grape used to make Barolo wine is the somewhat difficult to grow Nebbiolo grape (difficult because it is always sass-mouthing people).
When tasting, I look for the taste of anise - which is somewhat like licorice.

This wine is generally high in tannins, high in acidity, and (for assistance in making out the ladies) high in alcohol.

Also, high in yum.
Many consider Barolos to be some of the finest wines in the world.

Barbaresco (DOCG)
Like Barolo, it's an appellation in northern Italy. Also like Barolo, it's made from the nebbiolo grape.
Generally it's thought of as a slightly lighter version of it's neighbor, with more floral notes on the nose and less tannins (this is due to lower required levels of alcohol and less time required for aging).

Some people might say it's a bit more elegant.
I think it might make a nice name for a little girl. Or not.

Barbera (Grape!)
It's a grape and is often grown in the same region of piedmont in Italy.
When you are buying a Barbera from this area, the bottle will be labeled in the format of “Grape from Someplace”. For example Barbera d' Asti or Barbera d' Alba – roughly (and in my case, retardly) translated as “Barbera from Alba”.

I can't recall anything about the few Barbera's I have had. In my brain, they get lost under their neighboring grape Dolcetto. According to one of the books on my bed side table they are distinguished by a medium amount of tannins, lots of red fruit flavors, and lots of the refreshing acidity that tends to go well with the local food. This wine, I also read, is one that can make a lovely young, fruity wine.

Barbera is also grown in a state called "California" in the Americas, Argentina, and Australia (what do they not grow in Australia?).

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