The Monferrato Renaissance: From the Barbera Revolution to the Birth of Nizza | Wine Enthusiast
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The Monferrato Renaissance: From the Barbera Revolution to the Birth of Nizza

As Piedmont’s most produced red wine – and the best-rated wine in Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100the Barbera Revolution is having a Golden Age moment, enchanting press and consumers alike. To learn about their resurgence, and their newest appellation Nizza, we spoke with Filippo Mobrici, President of the Consorzio Barbera D’asti E Vini Del Monferrato.

What does Barbera Revolution mean, and how did it begin?

The Barbera Revolution has been a slow and progressive evolution that began two decades ago when the wine producers set out to prove that Barbera could establish itself among the great red wines of Piedmont. A few years ago, it gained notoriety for its agronomic and oenological techniques, and was further enhanced by the changing tastes of consumers who are drawn to fresh and gastronomic wines. Today, the Barbera Revolution has become the most produced and exported red wine in all of Piedmont.

What are Barbera d’Asti’s main points of distinction compared to other Piedmont wines?

Without a doubt – and at the risk of sounding boring — I’d say terroir. Monferrato’s territory is very unique geologically. Millions of years ago, Monferrato was submerged under the sea, which led to the creation of hills with gentler slopes and more sunlight than Langhe and Filippo Mobrici, . Barbera d’Asti is differentiated in its body, structure, flavor, minerality and acidity – and, of course, by our wine producers who have dedicated themselves to this grape and territory.

What are the main differences between Barbera d’Asti and Nizza?

The first difference is the production area. While the Barbera d’Asti has 167 productive municipalities, the Nizza has only 18. With Nizza, the producers wanted to test themselves and reach the qualitative apex of the Barbera grape, establishing one of Italy’s most restrictive and rigorous procedural guidelines. For Nizza, only vineyards with the best exposures (South) are used: The blend is 100% Barbera and the yield is among the lowest in Italy, only 7t/ha.

What is your favorite food to pair with Barbera?

It’s difficult to choose just one, but the food pairing that surprises me the most is fish. Because it is fresh and fruity, the Barbera is good with cod, swordfish and any fatty fish. In the Fall, I often pair a structured Barbera d’Asti — with its vibrant acidity and spicy notes — with the Piedmontese gran bollito misto.