Cristina Ascheri 2006 Langhe Arneis, Piemont

Posted by Keith Wallace

In the land of Barbaresco and Barolo, this grape is truly, in the local patois, an unruly child, the one who doesn’t quite fit in. Once planted among rows of Nebbiolo because its scented clusters diverted birds and bees away from the more “important” varietal, Arneis had as low a profile as any grape that had been around for 600 years or so.

Historically linked with the Roero on the opposite side of the Tanaro River from the Langhe hills, Arneis from the latter zone exhibits unique characteristics. It seems well suited to the rolling terrain of its more renowned Piedmontese cousins.

Ascheri has produced a zesty, lively version, fuller in style than most but marked by cutting lemon-lime acidity. A burst of springtime aromatics – apple, honeyed melon, and wildflowers – is the segue to the white fruit flavors that fill the mouth, backed by crisp, stoney, minerals, and a fresh grapefruity finish.

In a world of bland, non-descript white wines, this type of grape deserves attention and a wider audience. If your experience has been limited to mass-produced Italian whites, this one will change your palate…and maybe your mind. Want more wine reviews?

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