Another mini wine blog. All you need to know about a good Italian wine in under 500 words…

Langhe Arneis. Dry white from Piedmont


Langhe Arneis 2013. Fontanafredda. Piemonte.

This is a dry white wine from the Piemonte (Piedmont) region in north-west Italy. Which for me – taking cover from the Tuscany/Chianti brigade – is *the* best wine-producing region in all Italy, known usually for being the home of Barolo, by some distance the country’s finest red – and also the much-maligned Asti Spumante.

This particular wine is part of a range of Piedmonte wines produced by Fontanafredda – a producer that disproves the theory that big = bad. Though they have some very fine bottles on their extensive list, for me they’re at their best providing a range of good, affordable, entry-level Piemonte wines.

These are exported world-wide, so the good news is, you’re likely to find them.

What’s Langhe ? And what’s Arneis ?

Langhe is the area of Piemonte in which this wine’s produced; Arneis is the (very old) grape variety from which it’s made.

What’s it like ?

If you like dry, flinty white wines like Chablis, you’ll probably like this too. Not much initial scent in the glass, it has to be said – slight floral note if anything – but take a sip and things start to get interesting. A quick opening burst of citrus and sherbert, is replaced by distinct hints of pear – which is an Arneis trademark – and then, for me the best bit, a really dry, minerally finish with good acidity.

Couple of points to nb…

If you subscribe to the generally-held view regarding everyday dry whites, you’ll know about the ‘drink youngest available’ gospel – and as this is from the 2013 vintage, it’s unquestionably softened and toned-down a bit in the interim period.

Langhe Arneis I’ve previously drunk has usually been from the previous year’s vintage – a great hot-weather white: fresh and zingy. This was still pretty good, but softer. Toned-down a little. (Which of course you may prefer).

Its acidity means it’ll drink really nicely with creamy pasta dishes – or in fact anything with a creamy sauce. Crab, lobster, mussels and smoked salmon too. Or fish’n’chips, where the acidity will stand up to the taste of frying, salt and vinegar ! Maybe a bit overpowering for plain white fish. And yes, good on its own as well…

Strength is 12%, so sharing a lunchtime bottle won’t leave you pole-axed for the rest of the afternoon.

I picked this up for just under €7