Although the Piedmont wine region stands for high-quality red wines such as Barolo or Barbaresco, there is a great white wine tradition in Piedmont. Almost all white grape varieties cultivated in Piedmont have their origin in Piedmont and this also includes the Arneis grape variety. Certainly one of the most important white varieties of Piedmont, its homeland is the Roero growing area, which stretches between the towns of Canale and Alba.
The Arneis vine was first mentioned in records in 1478 under a different name. However, the name Arneis did not appear until the beginning of the 18th century and the wines produced then were sweet wines, which was the norm at the time. The Arneis was also very often blended with the Nebbiolo to soften the harsh tannins of the Nebbiolo. That is why the two vines were planted together in one vineyard. However, there was another reason for this. The rows of Nebbiolo in the vineyard alternated with those of Arneis because the enticing aroma of the grapes attracted the birds, which in this way spared the more important red grapes. The locals then called the Arneis “Nebbiolo Bianco” and this explains the synonym still used today.
Arneis did not become commercially successful until the beginning of the 20th century, when the wines were then vinified dry as varietal white wines. Today, the Roero Arneis has a high status as a quality wine and is the figurehead of the entire Roero wine region. The Arneis white wines are characterized by their intense aromas of ripe exotic fruits.
The wines are usually elegant, full-bodied and impress with their wonderful freshness, although they are rather low in acidity. By the way, the Roero Arneis is one of the few wines whose taste cannot be felt on the tongue but only on the palate.