Bianchetta, Bianchetta d’Alba, Bianchetta di Alba, Bianchetto, Bianchetto Albese, Bianchetto di Alba, Bianchetto di Verzuolo, and Nebbiolo bianco.”
“Wine historians disagree on how long Arneis has been growing in the Piedmont region and under what name. Despite sharing several similar synonyms, Arneis has no genetic relationship to the red wine grape Nebbiolo. The two grapes do share a close historic relationship. For centuries the white Arneis grape was used to soften the tannins and harshness of Nebbiolo grape in the wines of the Barolo region. Hence the common synonym of Nebbiolo bianco, Barolo bianco or “white Barolo”. In the vineyard, Arneis was often planted with Nebbiolo in a field blend with the aim of having the sweet scent of ripe Arneis berries attract birds and keep them away from the more valuable Nebbiolo clusters.
In the 20th century, as Barolo producers begun focusing on 100% varietal Nebbiolo. The variety was on the verge of extinction. By the 1970s, only two producers were making any kind of Arneis, Bruno Giacosa and Vietti. The 1980s saw a renaissance in interest for white Piedmont wines and plantings began to increase. By 2000, there were 745 hectares. By 2006 the number of plantings of Arneis declined to around 610 hectares nearly all found in the Roero and Langhe region of Piedmont.
Arneis Wine Regions
Arneis is found primarily in the Italian wine region of Piedmont where it is featured in the white DOC/G wines of Roero and Langhe. It is permitted as a blending grape in the red Nebbiolo based wines of Roero but its use in this capacity is today rarely seen. Outside of Piedmont, limited plantings of the grape can be found in Liguria and on the Italian island of Sardinia.
In the United States, Arneis is mostly found in California wine region of Sonoma County and the Oregon wine region of the Willamette Valley. Other American Areas include the Mendocino, Russian River Valley, Paicines and Santa Ynez Valley AVAs. It grows also in Willcox, Arizona. In the 21st century, plantings of Arneis have begun appearing the Australian wine regions of Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales as well as the New Zealand wine region of Gisborne in the North Island.
Viticulture and Winemaking
The Arneis vine can be a difficult grape to cultivate, with naturally low acidity and tendency to get over ripe if it is harvested after September. The vine’s propensity for low crop yields and for the wine to oxidize easily, contributed to its steady decline in the early to mid 20th century. Better understanding of the variety in the later half of the century helped revive the variety as winemakers found that the chalky, sandy soils around Roero gave the grapes more acidity and structure. Besides, Arneis grapes planted in sandy clay soil developed an elegant and exotic perfume.
Arneis historical role has been as a softening for Nebbiolo, though today the grape is used as a varietal wine. Wines fermented and/or aged in oak will be more full bodied while unoaked Arneis can have more aromatics and perfume. Arneis has the potential to produce highly perfumed wines with aromas of almonds, apricots, peaches, pears and hops. Some producers make a late harvest passito Arneis”
Source Wikipedia (here).
Classification: native Piedmontese dry white wine D.O.C.
Producer: Luigi Voghera
Grape variety: Arneis.
Soil type: hilly with a southwest exposure, at an altitude of 235 meters; poor calcareous, marly soils.
Harvest time: second week of September.
Production: the free-run must from soft pressing begins fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a low temperature (17/18°C) for a period ranging between twenty to thirty days. The wine is filtered, previously cold settled and bottled.
Storing: in a cool environment at a constant temperature below 18/20°C.
Color: straw yellow with greenish hues.
Aroma: characteristic, ethereal, intense with notes of flowers and ripe fruit.
Palate: round, dry, extraordinary elegance, vibrant and fresh finish.
Pairing: perfect with light appetizers and fish pasta and rice dishes. Great aperitif.
Serving Temperature: should be served at 8/10°C.
First Tasting Feedback
“I really like to appearance in the glass and up to a light. The nose is pleasant though no strong taste as some Piedmont wines.
But wow! The first sip – amazing; Firstly fruity senses then a dryness more associated with a Chenin Blanc from Cape Town. Then it changes to a buttery/fruity flavour of a Vognier then back to a dry, superior wine I just love. I think it would be great with an anchovie salad or a rocket pizza but I just love it with – another glass of the same!! Sorry I don’t write wine reviews but it is fantastic.” Mark J 18/01/21