It’s time for the Summer of Arneis. What is that, you ask? Well, it is a summer filled with liquid Piedmont gold. Or, a Northern Italian white wine called Arneis.
If you can’t make it to Piedmont, don’t despair. I’ve challenged my Wine Pairing Weekend blogging group to create summer-inspired recipes for our June wine pairing focus.
Interested in playing Arneis food pairing? Read on to learn more about the grape and how to join us on June 13th. And, if you just want to taste (that’s okay, too!), find a buyer’s guide below. Cin cin!
Get to know Arneis
Arneis is a favorite summer aperitif wine from the Langhe and Roero areas of Piedmont. It is indigenous to the Roero hills of Canale dating back to the 1400’s.
What does Arneis Mean?
Arneis means ‘little rascal’ in Piemontese dialect. Its name came to be because it can be difficult to grow. The variety was often planted in less attractive vineyard locations since more important grapes, like Nebbiolo, got the best sites.
Once upon a time Arneis was blended with Nebbiolo to soften the tannins; producers could blend up to five percent in Roero Riserva before its 2005 DOCG designation. According to the Roero Consortium it was also planted to distract birds and bees from eating the higher quality grapes of the region.
In the 1980s a young group of producers saw potential for it as a standalone and began cultivating it as a single-variety wine. Some producers even make it as a sparkling using the Champagne Method or metodo classico.
Arneis: Sniff and Sip
Arneis is a medium-bodied white wine with low acidity and low aromatics. On the palate it throws citrus and stone fruits of pear, green apple, and some blossom notes. Some of the top expressions show hints of a savory, nutty finish in age.
The wine is often consumed young for optimum freshness, but age worthy bottles can be found. Be on the lookout for 2012 and 2013 vintages, which show higher acidity. The acid helps its cellaring power and makes it more food-friendly.
Arneis Food Pairing Tips
Great with starters, first course, and vegetable dishes. Try white meats like turkey and chicken. In terms of sauces for an Arneis food pairing, go with a carbonara, lighter cheese sauces, and milder curries. In the summer we like cold ham and salami as well as ham cooked on the bone.
Arneis Wine Buying Guide
Demarie: Demarie’s Arneis grapes are cold macerated for 24 to 36 hours to extract aroma. Then, aged in steel. They also do a crisp, dry Arneis Spumante, For You. Production is limited in the years they do it, so each bottle is individually numbered on the bottom. Find locations to buy or order online at Wine-Searcher here.
Deltetto: Deltetto produced one of the area’s first single vineyard Arneis, San Michele. It is aged in oak and steel. They also do a steel and cement aged version, Daivej. Find locations to buy or order online at Wine-Searcher here.
Some other producers that may be easier to find are Pio Cesare, Vietti, Bruno Giacosa, Prunotto, Cornarea and Fontanafredda.
Arneis Food Pairing – get featured!
One of my favorite Roero Arneis is from Demarie (full disclosure: I work for them; the working relationship began only recently – after a two year friendship that started through my love of their wines.)
We are starting a food and wine pairing section on their website and would like to feature our favorite Summer of Arneis food pairing recipes from the Wine Pairing Weekend group. Please tag your post #SummerOfArneis and / or @Demarie when posting on Twitter or Instagram if you want to be considered for the feature. If you can only find a Langhe Arneis, don’t worry! They are great and Demarie makes one of those, too. In fact, you might find it on the wine list at your neighborhood wine bar or eatery in the United States.
How Wine Pairing Weekend Works
- Give me a shout that you are in. Leave me a message in comments or email me directly by clicking here.
- Pick an Arneis food pairing and email me the title by June 9.
- Write a blog post that highlights your chosen recipe and wine. Add the code I provide you (that’s why I need you to contact me) to the bottom with everyones’ post details.
- Hit publish by 7:00 am ET on Saturday, June 13.
- Get social! After the posts go live check out each other’s Arneis food pairing adventures. Then, join us for a one-hour Twitter chat at 11:00 am ET using the hashtag #winePW. I’ll send out social tidbits in advance.
- Check out past Wine Pairing Weekend posts to see how they look.
- Read more about Arneis food pairing in The Ultimate Guide to Piedmont Food and Wine.
Song Pick! Summer Breeze, Isley Brothers