The little troublesome
Arneis means "little troublesome", which can be taken quite literally here. The variety grows almost only in Piedmont, in the Roero region, left down under the town of Asti, which is the main area. But it is a difficult customer in the vineyard, with a low yield, an early maturing and fairly sensitive for diseases. Moreover, the grape is sensitive for oxidation and contains very little acid (which may be countered by current vinification methods).
In the 70s, Arneis was almost gone, wasn’t it that the houses Vietti and Bruno Giacosa started to look after it! Slowly, the winemakers began to discover the potential of this grape, and more and more monocepages were created instead of using Arneis as a softener of stiff tannins of Nebbiolo. Because of that, it is sometimes compared to Viognier, which can also be used as a softener for the Côte Rôtie's. So with proper care in vineyard and in vinification, this grape can produce very full-bodied wines with a soft peach flavor, a slightly bitter aftertaste, and in the end a typical almond flavor. Delicious with antipasta or in combination with seafood. In 2006, Roero appellation was therefore promoted to DOCG.
Aromas: what kind of things can you smell in a wine made with Arneis grapes?
- soft fresh fruits (citrus, apple, pear and peach) to more tropical (peach)
- white flowers
- spices (anise or mint)
- almonds (in the finish)
- fresh minerality
Pairing: what kind of food combines well with a wine made with Arneis grapes?
- risotto with chicken stock and mushrooms
- light and creamy cheeses
Wineries that focus on arneis: