Barbetta accomplished for Piemontese wines what it accomplished for Piemontese cuisine, introducing the great wines of Piemonte, many unknown to Americans before that time. It is hard to believe now, with Italian wines having gained so much in prestige and popularity in recent years, that in 1962, when Ms. Maioglio took over Barbetta, only one Barolo was being imported into America and that Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Gattinara, Ghemme, Barbera, and Grignolino were not being imported at all.
For many years, Barbetta brought in for itself alone the only Barbaresco, Gattinara, and Ghemme to be found in this country. In the ’70s, Barbetta also began to import Grignolino and Barbera from its own vineyards in Fubine Monferrato. As early as 1977, Barbetta won first prize from the Italian Government (ICE) for the most outstanding Italian wine list.
Barbetta’s current Wine List reflects the work done by Leopoldo Frokic from 1997 to 2004 and from then carried on by subsequent sommeliers. The Barbetta Wine List numbers over 1,700 different labels, with extraordinary verticals and rare vintages from the top producers going back to 1961. This remarkable list won Wine Enthusiast’s first prize in February 2005, the Award of Ultimate Distinction. It has also won Wine Spectator’s second prize, the Best of Award of Excellence, every year since 1997. In September 2005, Barbetta won first prize from SantÃ© Magazine.