Arneis is a green grape from the Piedmont region in Italy’s north-west. It is receiving a growing interest among winemakers, also from outside its heartland.
The grape Arneis has a natural sweetness and tends to be low in acidity. In Roero, a part of the Cuneo province in Piedmont, it is described to show aromas of white flowers, pear, apricot, peach, citrus, and almond.
Arneis is used to produce both light and medium bodied dry wines. In its only DOCG, the Roero DOCG, it can also be used to produce sparkling wine. In Roero, Arneis wines are to be blended with five percent of another authorised white grape from within the region.
In the Terre Alfieri DOC in Asti, and in the neighbouring Lange DOC, Arneis wines have to contain at least eighty-five percent of the variety. In Lange, this means they can be blended with Chardonnay, Favorita, Nascetta, Riesling, Rossese Bianco, or Sauvignon Blanc, e.g. other important white varieties grown in the DOC area.
Arneis is also possible to use in fifteen different IGPs in Sardinia, although no plantings were reported there in 2010.
Wines made from Arneis are generally made for early consumption.
Arneis is nice as an aperitif. It is also nice when paired with antipasti, or dishes based on chicken or fish. Or why not try it with matured cheese?
A dry Arneis wine is best served at 8°C/46°F – 6°C/43°F – 8°C/46°F.
Where is it grown?
Arneis is grown mainly in Italy. In spite of an increase of twenty-five percent between 2000 and 2010 it remains a rather small variety.
With plantings of 970 ha/2,397 ac, its Mpg rank was in fact 81 in 2010. In Cuneo, it is reported to be planted on 870 ha/2,150 ac, and in Asti 69 ha/171 ac. All of the expansion has taken place in the Cuneo province.
There are reports of plantings also in Australia; 55 ha/136 ac in Riverland and 23 ha/57 ac in Wrattonbully. Riverland is in North-east, and Wrattonbully is in South-east of Adelaide in South Australia
There are reports of plantings also in California and New Zealand.
Arneis has a long story in Roero in Piedmont and is viewed as being native to the region.