If you're into Italian wine, you've likely heard of Piemonte, and you've more than likely tried the iconic wines from Barolo and Barbaresco. But Piemonte also has an excellent, yet somewhat unknown, reputation for white wines. And this week's sip is a Piemonte white, more specifically the Roero Arneis from Paolo Manzone.
Arneis is a white grape indigenous to Piemonte, known for making fresh, fragrant, and elegant wines. Like Barolo and Barbaresco, Roero has DOCG status, a marker of quality and excellence. This grape has been grown here for several hundreds of years, but has only recently been recognized on an international stage.
By law, Roero Bianco must be at least 95% Arneis, but is often 100%. The wines are highly aromatic, floral, and fruity. Oak is rarely used, so they're fresh and easy. The beauty of Arneis is that it's ready to be drunk young, or it can age in bottle. Over time, the fruit flavours will turn from fresh to baked and notes of honey will develop.
This particular Arneis is on the lighter, fresher side. It's full of tart citrus and sour green apple, but there's also a perceptible herbal and grassy note. In fact, it's somewhat reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc.
This wine is a great start to a night of Piemonte's best, followed by Barbaresco, and then the "king of wines," Barolo.