Dear Wine Ladies, This fall I am trying to think and drink outside the proverbial box and have discovered a fabulous white wine called Arneis. I’d never heard of it, found it delicious, well priced and a hit with our friends as well. Can you tell me a little about this wine? – Brianna
Dear Brianna, Arneis is actually a grape variety that comes from the North Western region of Piedmont in Italy. It is one of close to five hundred grape varieties indigenous to Italy. Becoming more popular these days, we are seeing more of these wines showing up on the shelves of our liquor stores. Like you, it seems wine drinkers are becoming more adventurous, and when the price is right, as it can be with Arneis, Eureka!
The variety’s name is derived from a Piedmontese word meaning “little rascal”. This is due to the fact that the grapes are hard to grow, as Arneis is a low cropping variety and is susceptible to mildew. As in life, and as it is with the finicky noble grape Pinot Noir, known as the “heart break grape, “a little struggle builds character and when the stars align, can make a wonderful wine.
Just as a little side note – Arneis has been and is known to play a role as a protector in the vineyards. To the rescue, it is sometimes planted next to vineyards planted with the Nebbiolo grape, which is the king red varietal of the region. Due to Arneis grapes’ stronger smell, hungry birds taken with the aroma become distracted away from the prized Nebbiolo grapes which make the highly regarded and famous wines of Barolo.
We too discovered a wonderful Arneis, Sansilvestro Sabbie Roero Arneis for $15.95 in our market here in Ontario. Enjoy a beautiful enticing aroma of lemon, apple and straw tones, crisp and delicious on the palate, with a lingering finish.