The wine | Barbera d’Asti DOCG is made from 90-100% Barbera plus an optional dose of no more than 10% non-aromatic red grapes allowed in Piemonte (typically Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon).
Communes (169) | The Barbera d’Asti DOCG zone covers 169 communes of which 51 are in Alessandria (AL) province and the remaining 118 comprise the entirety of Asti (AT) province.
Sub-zones | In 2000 three sub-zones were created called Nizza, Tinella, and Colli Astiani. Nizza gained its own autonomous DOCG in 2016.
Winegrowing | Vineyards must be planted at a minimum 4,000 vines/hectare (1,600 vines/acre). They may be pruned either to long canes or short spurs. Grape yields are 9 tonnes per hectare (63 hl/ha or 25 hl/acre) for both Barbera d’Asti DOCG normale and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore. Minimum alcohol levels are 12% for Barbera d’Asti normale, and 12.5% for Barbera d’Asti Superiore, although some wines can reach 14.5% alcohol.
‘Vigna’ or single site wines | Both Barbera d’Asti DOCG and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore may carry the name of a ‘Vigna’, meaning the name of a locally recognised place or sub-zone on the label. Yields are 8 tonnes per hectare, with a minimum alcohol of 12.5%.
Winemaking | Barbera d’Asti DOCG normale, with or without a ‘vigna’ designation, can be released from 01st March following harvest. There is no requirement for oak ageing. The minimum alcohol level is 12%. Both Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore and Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore ‘Vigna’ must age at least six months in oak, and can be released 14 months starting from 01st November in the year of harvest. The minimum alcohol level for both is 12.5%.
Wine styles | Wines from the northern part of the zone from calcareous soils show the deepest-colours. Those from the southern part on sandier soils give more fluid, lighter-coloured or ‘the silkest of wines’, says Oz Clarke (2015, p38).
Wine production | 2000 215,602hl. | 2001 247,526hl. | 2002 225,636hl. | 2003 229,578hl. | 2004 255,960hl. | 2005 244,094hl. | 2006 276,368hl. | 2007 282,715hl. | 2008 229,567hl. | 2009 231,946hl. | 2010 221,170hl. | 2011 232,673hl. | 2012 223,057hl. | 2013 226,806hl. | 2014 209,399hl. | 2015 168,770hl. Dry summer. Low yields. 20% lower than usual. | 2016 153,685hl. Dry summer, similar to 2015. Low yields. 20% lower than usual. | 2017 I was in the region on 11th July 2017 and was told water stress was already an issue.
Consorzio Barbera d’Asti DOCG e Vini del Monferrato
I-14055 Costigliole d’Asti (AT = Asti), Italy
Tel+39 0141.324368 | www.viniastimonferrato.it
Oz Clarke 2015, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p38.