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.

Cosa Nostra Arneis by Santolin from the Yarra ValleyCosa Nostra Arneis made by Santolin of the Yarra Valley

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, this 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
Quick facts about Arneis white wine varietyQuick facts about Arneis

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

Medal winners

At the 2019 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show 17 Arneis wines were judged.  Two Gold Medals, two Silver medals and three Bronze medals were awarded.  The Gold medal winners were Dhiaga Wines 2019 Arneis and Rutherglen Estates 2019 Arneis.

  • Adelina Wines Clare Valley
  • Alejandro Riverland
  • Amadio Adelaide Hills
  • Audrey Wilkinson Hunter Valley
  • Aylesbury Estate Geographe
  • Beechtree Wines McLaren Vale
  • Billy Button Alpine Valleys
  • Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills
  • Bittern Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Brown Brothers King Valley
  • Carn Estate Murray Darling
  • Catherine Vale Vineyard Hunter Valley
  • Centennial Vineyards Southern Highlands
  • Chrismont King Valley
  • Collins and Co Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Crittenden Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • Cupitt's Winery Shoalhaven Coast
  • Curlewis Geelong
  • D'Arenberg McLaren Vale
  • Dal Zotto Estate King Valley
  • Dalfarras Nagambie Lakes
  • De Bortoli Riverina
  • Dhiaga Mornington Peninsula
  • Di Lusso Estate Mudgee
  • Dromana Estate Mornington Peninsula
  • First Drop Barossa Valley
  • Fowles Wine Strathbogie Ranges
  • G Patritti & Co McLaren Vale
  • Helen's Hill Estate Yarra Valley
  • Holm Oak Northern Tasmania
  • Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley
  • K1 by Geoff Hardy Adelaide Hills
  • Kirrihill Estates Clare Valley
  • La Bise Adelaide Hills
  • Landhaus Estate Adelaide Hills
  • Larry Cherubino Margaret River
  • Lazzar Wines Mornington Peninsula
  • Lonely Vineyard Eden Valley
  • Millbrook Winery Perth Hills
  • Nashdale Lane WInes Orange
  • Nepenthe Adelaide Hills
  • Ochota Barrels Adelaide Hills
  • Pankhurst Wines Canberra
  • Parish Hill Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Paul Nelson Wines Denmark
  • Pizzini Wines King Valley
  • Rowlee Wines Orange
  • Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen
  • Sam Miranda Wines King Valley
  • Santolin Yarra Valley
  • Sassy Wines Orange
  • Somos McLaren Vale
  • Stefano di Pieri Murray Darling
  • 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
  • View Road Wines Adelaide Hills
  • Vineyard 28 Geographe
  • Yacca Paddock Vineyards Adelaide Hills
  • Yarraloch Yarra Valley
  • Zerella (la Gita) McLaren Vale
  • Zonte's Footstep Langhorne Creek
Last update 24 Sept 2020

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 Arneis 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 

Arneis and Food

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.

Other Italian white Wine varieties in Australia

Arneis | Bianco d'Alessano | Cortese | Fiano | Friulano | Garganega | Greco di Tufo | Grillo | Moscato Giallo | Picolit | Prosecco | Trebbiano | Verduzzo | Vermentino
One of the best books about Italian wine grape varieties is Ian d'Agata's Native Wine Grapes of Italy

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