If Nebbiolo is the fine dining pinky-up blue-blood of the wine world, then Barbera is the fun live music dive bar down the street. A true wine of the people, Barbera is grown in the same northern Italian area as Nebbiolo (in Piedmont), but is far less popular and thus far less expensive. Low tannins with high acidity make it a wonderful counterpoint to Dolcetto, and it is meant to be consumed young. The best bottles come from Alba and a great bottle shouldn’t run more than $20. It pairs wonderfully with Italian food that need some acid such as meats, cheeses, mushrooms, creamy pastas, fatty fish (such as grilled salmon), and even dark chocolate. It is also a great wine to give as gift (to someone you kind of like but aren’t overly crazy about).

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