Malabaila Roero Arneis 2016
The Malabaila di Canale estate has been owned by the Count Malabaila family since the beginning of the fifteenth century, succeeding their predecessors, the Counts Roero. In the Malabaila family archives there are letters, dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, sent from House of Savoy requesting wines from the Count's caves
Even to this day, the Roero folklore lives on about witchcraft lurking behind its dramatic contours and obscure woods—but these stories only add to the region’s allure and charm. Actually today Roero winemakers are some of the most astute and motivated in Piedmont. While the white Arneis has attracted global attention for some time, now Roero Nebbiolo wines (elevated to the same DOCG status as Barolo and Barbaresco) are making a name for themselves. Keep an eye on any labeled with the vineyard, Valmaggiore, as Barolo producers have been investing here for years. If you’re looking for hidden gems, this is your region!
Yielding a dry and subtly scented wine, Arneis is the star white grape of Piedmont. While it once risked extinction, lost in the shadow of the regions' star red varieties, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, the grape experienced an explosion in popularity in the 1980s due to growing local demand for white wine. Barolo and Barbaresco producers finally recognized the gold mine of superb Arneis vines that had been growing for decades in Roero, merely kilometers away across the Tanaro River.
This low-yielding variety ripens in the second half of September and its wine is typically fermented in stainless steel only in order to preserve its fresh acidity.
In the Glass
Full of ripe white peach, green apple, raw almond and savory notes on the palate, the wine naturally often smells of vanilla and white flowers, making it a fantastic summer sipper, porch wine and in Piedmont, apertivo wine.
There is no shortage of quaffable, light and young Arneis poured by the glass locally in every Piemontese bar, café, and restaurant. It pairs perfectly with light soft, fresh cheeses, prosciutto, flaky white fish, herb-laden fritatta and pesto.
A few key Roero producers are also focusing on exploring the ageability of high quality Arneis. It isn’t grown anywhere else in Italy but to a very limited extent, producers in California, Oregon, Australia and New Zealand are growing this grape and the results are promising.