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The Elusive Arneis


#1

Arneis has always been a difficult wine to search out, for several reasons it almost disappeared, a propensity to desease and lack of interest, but it did survive alongside the Barolo vineyards in NW Italy.
For my part I came across it about 25 years ago, I have no recollection of the producer or year, but the bottle matched the description of the grape in that is was a fruity dry wine with apple pear and peach flavours and a nutty almost almond like like undertone, the nutty flavour I found out later develops with age, not that Arneis is meant to be kept.

That was it for awhile as one just didn’t see the grape for sale, a couple did come along but were nowhere near the quality of that initial introduction.
Some years past and on one of our frequent Italian excursions we alighted in Piedmont and during trawling for wine, Barolo, came across Arneis again, this time from two noted producers Cerreto and Giacosa.
They were both consumed soon after return, and hope of finally finding Arneis in the same category as my initial purchase was dashed as both were underwhelming, the Cerreto one had the appearance of water and had not much more taste and the Giacosa version had better colour but not much more flavour, both hugely disappointing and from such “great” producers.
Since that time early 2000s the grape has hardly surfaced and my desire for the real thing has abated after the disaster of last time, where are you Arneis, there must be a good bottle!


#2

It is a shame you didn;t get a chance to try the Arneis that was on the list a few months ago, then:

Here was my tasting note:

“Lovely wine indeed. A wine of substance with a pleasing tropical fruit note of ripe peaches and tangy citrus, but also a freshness on the finish. Bought to accompany a Northern Italian menu and needed something to stand up to saffron risotto and cured meats.”

I have no idea whether it will be replenished with the new vintage, but I can try to find out


#3

@cerberus I feel your pain.

I remember my very first taste of a wine I’d never heard of then; It was lunch at a restaurant in th ehills overlooking Lake Maggiore.

For over a year Pizza Express listed a Roero Arneis - that was when they only had Italian wines. Now they have internationlised their list, and they have a lot less interesting wine.


#4

I’ve had this which was great , lots of tropical peach and pear And acacia honey. I can’t remember where I picked it up but I would agree that Arneis falls into the underrated Italian wine category!


#5

Thanks for that Leah, there is still one available at Waitrose and it has been on there list for some time, whilst perfectly drinkable it is like so many Italian whites not memorable unless you manage to find the “real” thing, rather like your Fiano quest, or the endles rubbish Pinot Grigio’s, the society did have for example a very good Soave at a reasonable price, Coffele, but that is out of stock and the Pieropan is no better and is to expensive for what it is.


#6

@Cerberus,

I have given up finding a readily available decent Pinot Grigio, primarily because the better ones from Alto Adige and Friuli are harder to get hold of . I admit I’ve not tried the Society’s own one and I’ve moved towards Pinot Gris but not from Italy. This is one of my favourite pinot gris at the moment:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kooyong-Beurrot-Pinot-Gris-2013/dp/B00P7UQAI4. Its worth a try.

I’m in agreement with you on the difficulties of finding stand out “white” Italian wine that really makes you itching to get your hands on more and I’m still on the search for a Fiano that will blow me away, in the meantime though these 2 have made me enjoy drinking Italian whites.:



Maybe it says more about my taste preferences when I’m going for the more complex and flavourful type of Italian whites :+1:


#7

If you want an under-recognised by reasonably readily available Italian white, look out for Lugana wines, made from Turbiana (aka - incorrectly - Trebbiano di Lugana, or in fact similar to Verdicchio).

I went to visit some years ago and there are some lovely wines.

The Society lists one of the top ones (aarrgh! also out of stock … but I’m sure will come in again in the New Year)


#8

You are right about the Fruili and Alto Adige PGs, initially they were the ones on the shelves but as the grape" took off " they disappeared.
The Alsace Pinot Gris is for some reason not popular yet it is in my opinion, for what it’s worth the best of the Alsace wines and that includes the Rieslings that I prefer from the other side of the Rhine, TWS has recently included a couple, but on my visits to the area it is the Pinot Gris I return with.
Verdicchio is another that the Italians seem to keep the best of for themselves, I was rather scathing about the society’s offering in my review, but as I said having visited the region and the capital Jesi that has a wonderful enoteca I had my eyes opened as to what the best Verdicchios were, a very different animal.
I think one of those Pinot Grigios that Leah refers to is by Alois Lageder, not seen for awhile.


#9

Hi Leah, had a fabulous Fiano Di Avellino, Bechar from Caggiano at my wine club in 2017. I sourced from Tannico, but Excel and others stock.
Cheers
Chris


#10

The only Fianos that have done it for me are Fiano Di Avellino. I think also the wines are best with some bottle age,


#11

Hi Chris,
Ive come to the conclusion that Fiano di Avellino are the best out there. I now have one but am almost afraid to drink it in case I’m totally disappointed …:joy:! As @NickFoster suggests, I’m now going to have to go to the garage and see how old it is too :+1: