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Arneis

Arneis cluster.Notable for their floral, fruity fragrance, arneis grapes were typically blended into the nebbiolo-based wines in Italy's Piedmont region, where the variety most likely originated. The practice was so prevalent that the grape was often refered to as "Barolo Bianco".

Entering the 1970s, arneis was actually becoming quite rare, but the growing white wine demand in the 1980s led to an upsurge in plantings, with nearly 1500 acres bearing fruit in Italy by the start of this century.

In 2004, Roero Arneis and Roero Arneis Spumante gained official recognition by the Italian governemnt as DOCG classifications and is also produced in the Langhe.

Made on the beach?
Located within the northernmost part of Piedmont, Roero Arneis wines must be made entirely from arneis grapes. One key feature of the region is its sandy soils.

 

Arneis prefers warmer average seasonal weather conditions than most other varieties. Its vine is quite vigorous and, due to an inclination to develop lateral shoots, arneis can develop a dense canopy. Low-to-moderate yields of 4 to 6 tons per acre are normal. The grapes ripen fairly early in the season, late September to mid-October in the Northern Hemisphere and tend to be fairly low in acidity.

Extra vineyard labor required to conrol vigor and boost crop yield may be a primary factor for this variety's decline in popularity among traditional growers, but there is recent interest in other regions. Outside Italy, a little arneis is grown in California (Sonoma, Mendocino, San Benito, and Santa Barbara counties), Oregon (Willamette Valley), and in the southeastern corner of Arizona (Wilcox), also some in Australia.

Crafted as a stand-alone varietal wine, Arneis can be both charming and distinctive, with floral and fruity influences, particularly fresh pear, in both the subtle aromas and dry flavors and a full mouthfeel.

Arneis Smell and Flavor Elements
*Typicity depends upon individual tasting ability and experience and is also affected by terroir and seasonal conditions, as well as viticultural and enological techniques. This list therefore is merely suggestive and neither comprehensive nor exclusive.

Primary Varietal Aromas

Secondary Processing Bouquets:

Fruit: apple, peach, pear

Oak (rare): vanilla, toast

Floral: acacia / chamomile

 
Spice: sage Spice: almond or nut (especially in older wines)
Flavor / Mouth Feel / Texture:
Flavor: fruity, dry / Mouthfeel: full /

Style variations depend upon vinification technique, but the best are unoaked and best consumed while young and fresh.

by Jim LaMar


RESOURCES
1. Jancis Robinson (ed), Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd Edition, (Oxford University Press: London) 2006

2. Erika Montovan, Piedmont Wines/Arneis, I vini del Piemonte (winery consortium website) 2015

3. L. Peter Christensen, Nick K. Dokoozlian, M. Andrew Walker, James A Wolpert, et all. Wine Grape Varieties in California (University of California, Agricultural and Natural Resources Publications: Oakland) 2003

4. Julia Harding, Jancis Robinson and José Vouillamoz. Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. London: Allen Lane/Penguin and New York: Ecco/Harper-Collins, 2012

5. Jancis Robinson (ed), Jancis Robinson's Guide to Wine Grapes, (Oxford University Press: New York) 1996


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Page created October 5, 2001; last updated March 17, 2016
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