Amador County welcomes the summer season with its single-varietal wine tasting event, the Barbera Festival, celebrating this increasingly popular varietal known for pairing well with food and as a stand-alone sipping wine. The sixth-annual Barbera Festival showcases more than 80 wineries from all over California, and takes place June 11 at the scenic Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards located just above the Sierra Foothill town of Plymouth, California.
The Barbera Festival has caught the attention of legions of wine lovers from across the West and has sold out every year. Set in a beautiful meadow under the shade of magnificent oaks, the event provides attendees with the unique opportunity to compare and contrast this versatile varietal, including four barberas from Italy selected by Darrel Corti. The festival features extensive wine tasting along with gourmet Barbera-friendly food prepared by the region’s top chefs and purveyors, live music, and hand-crafted works by local artisans. New this year, a hands-on sensory station enables attendees to learn about the aromas and flavors characteristic of the varietal, and about barrels, toasts and soil compositions.
Barbera originated in the Piemonte region of Northern Italy, and today nearly 200 California wineries produce the varietal, which is known for its low tannin and generous acid structure yielding a smooth, food-friendly wine. Barbera styles range from bright flavors of tart cherry, raspberry and spice, to riper styles evoking flavors of black cherry, blueberry, blackberry, and vanilla.
Amador’s first Barbera vineyards were planted at Terra d’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyards in the early 1970s, and area winegrowers have been perfecting their harvest ever since. Amador County vintners are now touted as producing some of the finest Barberas in California, adding to the increasing popularity of this varietal.
The Barbera Festival was founded in 2011 by Brian Miller and Deirdre Mueller, owners of the Amador360 Winery Collective tasting room. Their goal in creating the event was to celebrate Barbera’s rich history in California and to help introduce this up and coming varietal to new fans.
“Amador has a definite and unique connection to Barbera,” Mueller says. “We love seeing so many people come to Amador County each year to celebrate this varietal. Our goal is to offer the opportunity for guests to compare and contrast Barberas from all over California in a single location, while enjoying a premier festival.”
The Barbera Festival takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 11. Tickets cost $50 ($40 for designated drivers) and must be purchased online in advance.
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