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Seghesio Arneis 2002
Early morning hand harvesting into small bins, and gentle whole cluster pressing yielded
juice low in phenolic astringency. A prolonged cold fermentation (55°) manifested
aromas of pears, melons and spearmint. Similar flavors, green apples and a floral/mineral
note add a supple quality to this Arneis."
Established in 1895, when Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley, Seghesio Family Vineyards produces wines that honor the history of Sonoma and the Seghesio family. Seghesio Family Vineyards' 300 acres in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys represent some of the oldest vineyards and proprietary clones. With a passionate belief that wine is made in the vineyard, Seghesio pairs a century of experience on these treasured sites with aggressive farming techniques. True to their oldest plantings, Seghesio concentrates on Zinfandel, Italian varietals and Pinot Noir. Ted Seghesio is the winemaker.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.