Arneis is one of the most well-known and important wines of Piedmont: a white wine with character, at the same time fresh and fun, capable of enchanting with its aromas of tropical fruit. Let's see how to recognize it blindly.
The Arneis vine belongs to the Piedmontese and Ligurian Bianchette varieties: let's see its characteristics to learn how to recognize it blindly.
Before starting: we at Sommelier Wine Box adopt this rule to distinguish the grape variety from the wine of the same name: the grape in lower case, the wine in capital letters. Let's go!
Where is arneis grown?
Arneis is an ancient grape, a native white grape from Piedmont that gives one of the best whites in the region. It has been documented in the area since the fourteenth century and grows particularly well in the Roero hills (where around 920 hectares of arneis are cultivated), especially in the province of Cuneo.
How are Arneis grapes made?
The Arneis bunch is medium and compact, cylindrical-pyramidal; the grapes are medium sized, spheroidal in shape, irregular, with greenish yellow white skin.
What does “arneis” mean?
In Piedmontese "T ses propi n'arnèis" is used to indicate a bizarre and rebellious person, but also nice and jovial.
Arneis is like this: its difficult character made it risk extinction (there were only a few hectares left!) due to low yields but since the end of the Seventies we have been witnessing, especially in the Roero, its rediscovery thanks to producers who they believed in the potential of the vine. And it is a rediscovery rightly welcomed by enthusiasts with great enthusiasm.
- Read also: how to understand if a wine "tastes like cork"
The Arneis DOC was established in the nineties, the DOCG Roero Arneis dates back to 2004, and since 2017 it has also been recognized as a Reserve, with 14 months of maturation, and as a Spumante.
The tasting of Arneis, to recognize it
👁 In the pure, firm version, it is bright straw yellow in the eyes, not too deep. The reflections are greenish in youth.
👃🏻 Arneis is a semi-aromatic grape variety. Vinified in purity, Arneis is very fruity on the nose, with elegant aromas dominated by tropical fruit (passion fruit, papaya), also enriched by kiwi, grapefruit, peach, apricot, cedar, but also floral (especially lime, hawthorn, broom), with sage and rosemary. In more advanced versions it can also express light notes of spices and peanuts.
👄 In the mouth it is fresh, tasty , delicate with its medium body ; the fruit and a light almond aftertaste return on the finish.
- Read also: how to taste wine
Tips for tasting Arneis
Serve it in a medium-sized glass with an opening wide enough to allow it to best express the aromas.
Serve it at around 10° C and, especially if it is a young Arneis, enjoy it in combination with a not too elaborate dish , such as tagliolini with chicken and vegetables or with Robiola di Roccaverano, for a local combination.