Barbaresco pairs best with rich and meaty dishes that feature earthy and smoky flavours such as braised short ribs, prime rib roast, veal chops, duck in a mushroom sauce, venison stew, hearty pasta, and Osso Buco. As Barbaresco requires a decade or more of ageing to tame its fierce tannin, you’ll want to enjoy it for special meals that you don’t get to enjoy every day. Floral and fruity on the nose, Barbaresco is an elegant red that knows how to be fierce, making it the Queen of Red Wines.

Barbaresco Profile


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What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?


What Is This?

Barolo vs Barbaresco

The main difference between Barolo and Barbaresco is that Barolo is heavier and louder with its flavours of violet, roses, tar, cherry and plum, while Barbaresco is a little less loud and a lot more elegant in her approach.  Barolo is hailed as the King of Red Wines due to its beefy tannin and bold flavours, whereas Barbaresco is hailed as the queen.  Thus, you’ll want to keep Barbaresco away from fruity or berry-based sauces, as the flavours of the wine will be overwhelmed by their sweetness. With Barbaresco, you’ll need to stick to earthy sauces that are gravy, truffle, or mushroom-based, such as a hearty Beef Stroganoff.

Barbaresco & Food Pairing Tips

As Barbaresco is high in acidity, it can also handle rich tomato sauces. To be safe, I’d pair up older and smoother Barbaresco with tomato sauces lacking a lot of protein as the high tannin of a young Barbaresco may make the wine taste like tin when pitted against the acidity of the tomato sauce. On the other hand, a young Barbaresco should be safe with a meaty tomato sauce, like Pasta Bolognese, as the meat will naturally soften the tannin.

Barbaresco is produced in Piedmont, Italy from the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo is thin-skinned grape and is harsh with tannin, and thus Barbaresco is aged in small French oak barrels to offset the tannin with the oak’s sweetness. Flavours of blackberries, cherries, earth, leather, licorice, tar, tobacco, vanilla, roses, violet, truffles, and smoke dominate the nose and taste of Barbaresco, while the high acidity and high tannin produce a chewy yet velvety texture.

The high acidity and high tannin content of Barbaresco make it perfect for fatty and meaty dishes as the acidity cuts through the fat, keeping your taste buds refreshed, while the fat and protein of the meat softens the tannin. With softer tannin, the smoky, earthy and complex notes of Barbaresco become more pronounced as you aren’t as focused on the cheek-pinching power of this red wine.

Best Food Matches with Barbaresco DOCG

Barbaresco & Osso Buco

The rich and meaty flavours of Osso Buco along with a glass of an aromatic Barbaresco is the perfect cure for a winter’s evening chill. The rich flavours of Barbaresco will warm you up fast as they mingle with the stick-to-your-bones deep flavours of Osso Bucco.

Both Osso Buco and Barbaresco have an earthy flavour, so the wine and food complement one another. Meanwhile, Osso Buco’s deep flavours are further enlivened by Barbaresco’s high acidity and crushed dark fruit flavours.

Barbaresco & Roast Beef Pairing

When young, Barbaresco is very loud, and needs meaty and fatty dishes, such as a prime rib roast, or a ribeye steak to tame her tannin. When aged for two decades, or longer, Barbaresco’s elegance is refined, and leaner cuts of meat such as a simple pot roast or an elk steak are more suitable.

Barbaresco’s earthy and smoky notes are heavenly with the beefy flavours, and the proteins and fat showcase the wine at its best as it drives the complex tar, leather, licorice and tobacco flavours out into the open. Meanwhile, the black & red cherry, along with blackberry flavours, keep you well refreshed.

The earthy, mineral and truffle side of Barbaresco is right at home with any mushrooms or root vegetables accompanying your roast beef dinner.

Barbaresco & Duck in a Mushroom Sauce Pairing

Duck is full of protein and fat and has a gamey and earthy flavour that is exquisite with the aromatic and elegant nose of Barbaresco. If your duck features a fruit sauce, Barbaresco is a no-go. Barbaresco is too elegant for the sweet flavours of a dark cherry or berry reduction. Instead, you want to feature a red wine sauce or an earthy mushroom sauce to match the intensity of Barbaresco’s soft but astringent kiss.

The smoky, earthy and mineral notes of Barbaresco will complement the duck meat, while the fatty and protein-rich duck will enhance the wonderful flavours of Barbaresco. Meanwhile, the cherry, raspberry and blackberry flavours of Barbaresco will help shelter you from those gamy notes of duck that not everyone appreciates.

For similar reasons, Barbaresco is lovely with a hearty pasta in a rich duck sauce.

Aged Barbaresco and Rabbit Pairing

An aged Barbaresco fares best with earthy yet leaner cuts of meat such as wild boar or rabbit. Both dishes are gamey, and Barbaresco swoops in with its complex layers of espresso, smoke, cherry, violets, vanilla and truffle distracting you from the gamey flavours. If your rabbit or wild boar is featured in a stew, or as part of a hearty pasta sauce and contains mushrooms or earthy vegetables, this pairing instantly becomes better!

Breaded Lamb Chops & Barbaresco Pairing

Barbaresco has notes of menthol which is a flavour that is often paired with lamb. Furthermore, the fruity flavours of Barbaresco mask the gamey notes of lamb, while the earthy, smoke, espresso and leather flavours of Barbaresco complement the delicate and subtle lamb flavours. The high acidity of Barbaresco lusciously cuts through the breading, releasing the lamb flavours across your tongue like the rolling out of the red carpet.

Barbaresco will go great with non-breaded Lamb Chops as well. I prefer oven-baked breaded lamb chops as the bread crumbs absorb all the delicious flavours of the lamb and wine, making every bite and sip taste harmonious.

Barbaresco FAQ

Does Barbaresco need to be decanted?

Decant a young Barbaresco (that’s under five years old) for two hours before drinking.  For older Barbaresco, decant for an hour and sample to see if it needs to open up futher.

Is Barbaresco a Dry Wine?

Yes, Barbaresco is very dry and leans more towards earthier flavours than fruit flavours.  Barbaresco is not a red wine that will pair with sweet foods.

Barbaresco vs Barolo

Barolo is fruitier, heavier and bolder in flavour.  While high in tannin, Barbaresco’s tannin won’t hit you as hard as Barolo.

Barolo must be aged a minimum of 3 years, whereas Barbaresco only requires 2 years.

Is Barbaresco a Super Tuscan?

No.  Barbaresco is from Piedmont, Italy and is 100% Nebbiolo grape.  A Super Tuscan is a wine from Tuscany that is blended with grapes that are not indigenous to the area (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Cabernet Franc).