Marchesi di Barolo Roero Arneis 2013
The Marchesi di Barolo estate encompasses approximately 430 acres of vineyards in the Langhe, some of the finest in Piedmont, including the prestigious Cannubi cru. The cellars are in the village of Barolo, overlooking the Renaissance castle of the Marchesi Falletti di Barolo. Barolo as we know it today was first made in the early 19th century by the Marchese Carlo Tancredi Falletti di Barolo and his wife, Giulia. The wine from their estate soon became known as “the wine from Barolo”, served at important diplomatic and royal functions. The Marchesi had no children and following the death of the couple, the Marchesi di Barolo dynasty was left without an heir. Per the wishes of Marchesa Giulia, a great philanthropist, the family assets were donated to charity and a non-profit foundation was created in their name, “Opera Pia Barolo”, helping the needy of nearby Torino. The sales of wine from their Barolo vineyards continue to fund the charity, which still exists today. In 1929, local winemaker, Pietro Abbona purchased the cellars formerly owned by the Marchesi and eventually acquired all their vineyard holdings as well. Today, Marchesi di Barolo remains a family business. Since 2006, the estate has been under the direction of Pietro’s great-grandson and fifth-generation winemaker, Ernesto Abbona and his wife Anna, (with their children Valentina and Davide) who have inherited a longstanding winemaking tradition and a love of the vineyards and its wines..
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.