Arneis is a white wine grape grown in the Piemonte region of north-west Italy. I first came across in the early 1990s when the wine store in London I was working stocked an Arneis called Blangè made by the Ceretto winery in Vezza d’Alba.

Also known as: Nebbiolo Bianco (‘The White Nebbiolo’).

ViticultureGiampiero Marrone told me (19th Nov 2016) ‘Arneis needs moisture in the soil. It’s very important to add organic matter to avoid irregular production. Too much direct sunlight is not good for Arneis, so there is no need to de-leaf too much. It is not an easy grape. Its irregular production is why Arneis is called rascal in local dialect. The 5 BB Kober rootstock helps give more consistent production.’

Giampiero Marrone told me on 20th May 2017 that ‘Arneis is not an easy grape. Its irregular yield is why Arneis is called a ‘rascal’ in local dialect. Kober 5BB rootstock helps give more consistent production, as does maintaining soil humus. Arneis must be able to find moisture to produce a regular-sized crop. With too much direct sunlight Arneis loses acid easily, which explains why it was unsuited to sparkling wine styles historically. There is no need to de-leaf too much.’

Alessandro Conterno told me (at the Castello di Barolo Sunday afternoon 17th July 2016) that ‘global warming is exacerbating the naturally low acidity levels Arneis manifests. This was why small doses of Arneis were used to soften Barbera and Nebbiolo reds.’

Winemaking: Prone to over-ripeness in the field and oxidation in the winery.

Wine style: ‘Appley herbal perfume’ says Oz Clarke (2015, p.31). Also almond, white and yellow fruit, liquorice.

Wines: Roero Arneis DOCG (Piemonte). | Langhe DOC Arneis (Piemonte). | Terre Alfieri DOC (Piemonte).

Bibliography

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014)

Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015).