Arneis white wine variety

This elegant Italian white wine grape variety is creating a buzz in Australia. I regard it as being among the top half dozen new white varieties in Australia.

In its native Piedmont, especially in the regions of Roero and Langhe, Arneis produces elegant white wines with powerful aromas of almonds and peaches. The variety was much less popular in the 1970s, but has undergone quite a revival since then.

Interestingly the variety is not used widely in any country outside Italy except in Australia, which in 2010 has over 13% of the acreage planted globally for Arneis.

A few Australian vineyards were using Arneis in the late 1990s but more recently the variety has gained popularity so that more than 60 wineries now make Arneis.

King Valley Arneis by ChrismontLa Zona Arneis by Chrismont in the King Valley

The variety presents some problems in the vineyard - Its nickname in Italy is "little rascal" but better clones and handling have seen Arneis wines become more popular.

In a similar role to Viognier in Shiraz, small quantities of Arneis have been used traditionally in Piedmont as blending material to soften wines made from the red variety Nebbiolo.

Australian Producers of Arneis

  • Adelina Wines Clare Valley
  • Amadio Adelaide Hills
  • Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley
  • Bawley Vale Estate Shoalhaven Coast
  • Beechtree Wines McLaren Vale
  • Berrima Estate Southern Highlands
  • Billy Button Alpine Valleys
  • Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills
  • Box Stallion Mornington Peninsula
  • Brown Brothers King Valley
  • Catherine Vale Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Centennial Southern Highlands
  • Chrismont King Valley
  • Coombe Farm Vineyard Yarra Valley
  • Crittenden at Dromana Mornington Peninsula
  • Crooked River Wines Shoalhaven Coast
  • Cupitt's Winery Shoalhaven Coast
  • Dalfarras Nagambie Lakes
  • Dal Zotto Estate King Valley
  • De Bortoli Riverina
  • Di Lusso Mudgee
  • Dromana Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Dunn's Creek Winery Mornington Peninsula
  • First Drop Barossa Valley
  • Fowles Wine Strathbogie Ranges
  • G Pattriti & Co McLaren Vale
  • Helen's Hill Estate Yarra Valley
  • Holm Oak Northern Tasmania
  • K1 by Geoff Hardy Adelaide Hills
  • Kingston Estate Riverland
  • Kirrihill Clare Valley
  • La Bise Adelaide Hills
  • Lazzar Wines Mornington Peninsula
  • Mac Forbes Wines Yarra Valley
  • Merkel King Valley
  • Millbrook Winery Perth Hills
  • Mountain Ridge South Coast Zone
  • Nepenthe Adelaide Hills
  • Mt Billy Southern Fleurieu
  • Oakridge Yarra Valley
  • Ochota Barrels Adelaide Hills
  • Parish Hill Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Pizzini Wines King Valley
  • Port Phillip Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Rochford Wines Yarra Valley
  • Ross Hill Wines Orange
  • Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen
  • Sam Miranda Wines King Valley
  • Sassy Wines Orange
  • Settlement Wines McLaren Vale
  • Symphonia King Valley
  • Tempus Two Hunter Valley
  • Ten Miles East Adelaide Hills
  • Tertini Wines Southern Highlands
  • Thick as Thieves Yarra Valley
  • Vale Creek Wines Central Ranges Zone
  • Vale Vineyard Mornington Peninsula
  • View Road McLaren Vale
  • Vineyard 28 Geographe
  • Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale
  • Yacca Paddock Vineyards Adelaide Hills
  • Yandoit Hill Winery Bendigo
  • Yarraloch Yarra Valley
  • Yarra Peaks Yarra Valley
  • Zarella McLaren Vale
  • Zonte's Footstep Langhorne Creek

The flavours of Arneis

Arneis wines in Australia can be a little neutral, perhaps because most vineyards are relatively young. But at their best these wines can be complex and aromatic and redolent of almonds, pears, peaches and honey.

As aromatic white wines these are best served when young and fresh, but I have enjoyed Crittenden's with a few years of bottle age.

Some descriptions of Arneis

Perfume, fruity, apples, pears, white grapefruit, floral, citrus, anise, hint of herbs...

De Long's Wine Varietal Table

...subtly fruit-scented, full-bodied and tasting of ripe pears 

Wine grapes Jancis Robinson 

Wines made from the Arneis grape are ideal accompaniments to seafoods, antipasti and salads.  But you can try them on their own as well.

In his book The Winelover Cooks Italian Brian St Pierre suggests pasta with squid or octopus.

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