Your Wine IQ

Arneis


International Varieties: Chardonnay   Gewürztraminer   Muscat   Pinot Gris   Riesling   Sauvignon Blanc

Major Varieties:   Airén    Chenin Blanc    Grüner Veltliner    Müller-Thurgau    Pinot Blanc    Sémillon    Silvaner    Trebbiano    Viognier

Regional Varieties:   Albariño    Aligoté    Amigne    Arneis    Chasselas    Colombard    Cortese    Fiano    Grechetto    Grenache Blanc    Malvasia Istriana    Marsanne    Muscadelle    Muscat of Alexandria    Ortega    Palomino    Parellada    Petite Arvine    Prosecco    Rieslaner    Roussanne    Savagnin    Scheurebe    Seyval Blanc    Tocai Friulano    Torrontés    Vermentino    Welschriesling


Arneis, which means "little rascal" in Piedmontese, was so named because of its finicky nature. Arneis is one of the classic Piedmontese white grapes. Wines made from this grape have pear and apricot notes and are crisp and full-bodied. It originated in Piedmont, where it was largely used to soften overly harsh Nebbiolo wines. Acreage steadily declined at one point but a resurgence of interest in Piedmontese whites has occurred.

Arneis can often make a great wine--but it's a difficult process. It is low in acidity, can be overripe, and is prone to powdery mildew. Producers have discovered that oak aging will make the wine very full-bodied while unoaked can bring out unusual notes of perfume. Clay soils make the most elegant Arneis, but sandy soil will give the wine more structure and acidity.

Arneis' versatility in Piedmont is increasing. Roero and Langhe are particular examples of great Arneis, and the grape is still sometimes used in blends with Nebbiolo. Outside of Piedmont, though, plantings are limited. Australia, California, Oregon and New Zealand have plantings as well.