ROERO ARNEIS VS. LANGHE ARNEIS
Arneis originates in Roero where the soils are sandier, giving this wine beautiful fruity notes of peaches and pears. Medium bodied and typically unoaked this is a wine for all occasions. It was once under appreciated and planted to attract animals and birds while keeping them away from the prized Nebbiolo.
In fact, it literally means “naughty kid” in Piedmontese dialect because it was an unreliable grape. Now it is considered one of Piemonte’s great wine varietals!
One of the biggest differences between Roero Arneis and Langhe is obviously the origin of the denomination with its DOCG status compared to Langhe’s DOC. The soils do make a difference of course but according to Giuseppino from Ghiomo winery, the biggest differences in the wine can be found based on how the winemaker deals with the harvest times, cellar practices and temperatures and therefore working with the acidity or lack thereof in the grapes.
Grape % – Min. 95% Arneis and may sometimes have a small percentage of another white grape (often Favorita or Sauvignon).
Description – Straw yellow and delicate, harmonious and a bit tannic on the palate. Notes of stone fruit and flowers
Alc. Min – 11%
Min. aging – 4 months after harvest
Min. aging for Riserva – 16 months
Soils – Alluvial origins with high amounts of sand from the sea bed approximately 5 million years ago during the Pliocene Era. This means the soil is soft and doesn’t hold a lot of water or nutrients however it is well oxygenated which is great for the fossily sandy soil because it enriches it, creating a more mineral character in the wines.
The roots must dig deep and tap into microelements like calcium and potassium which help give such an intense aromatic character. The terrain overall is jagged with mixed agriculture with orchards and secular chestnut trees!
History: First citations were found in the early 1800s. In just 30 years there are now 10 times as many Arneis vineyards planted with almost 6 million bottles total being produced in the region!
DOC status – 1989 DOCG status – 2004
*Can be mentioned with MGA crus (There are 135 MGAs in Roero).
The soils are ancient, dating back to the Miocene Era up to 15 million years ago! This means the soils are more compact and sedimentary where you can find clay, blue marls and calcareous marls. This makes the soil quite poor and less fertile especially as you move towards the Appenines
I have tried to discover if there is a difference in the taste and overall what I could determine is that Langhe Arneis may be more floral with less stone fruit and Roero may have a bit more minerality but it is not a clear cut answer. There is no minimum aging required or riserva for this denomination.
Grapes – 85% Min with 15% of another white grape
Delicate Intense nose with similar characteristic on the palate
Min Alc. – 10.5%
The Arneis From No Man’s Land
If you can see on the map, the village of Guarene, although positioned on the left bank of the Tanaro river is cut out of the Roero denomination and included in the Langhe. So one of my favorite Arneis is made by a farmer Giuseppino from Ghiomo winery. Unfortunately his specialty,
Arneis can not be called Roero because it is right on the border! But I guess this makes him even more special because after all their wines are standouts so to say. In fact we put his crisp flagship Langhe Arneis, Fussot in both the White Selection Pack as well as the Mixed this last Fall.
Then we also included the In Primis, a careful selection of grapes from the vineyard harvested multiple times to give you an age worthy more complex white but never lacking in freshness which is what I look for!
If you are interested in tasting this special Arneis made with lots of love and care, contact me via email and we can send you some (if he still has stock!). The production is very small and he also makes a fabulous Nebbiolo too.