Seghesio Arneis 2014
Pairs well with mild cheeses, fruit-accented salads (particularly grilled peaches), sushi, risotto, seafood and Thai or Indian cuisines.
Established in 1895, Seghesio Family Vineyards produces benchmark Zinfandels that honor five generations of winegrowing leadership, and share the heart of Sonoma County and our Italian heritage. Seghesio Family Vineyards encompasses more than 300 acres of estate vineyards in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys – that also represent a significant amount of Old Vine plantings that are more than 50 years old and up to 125 years old. With a passionate belief that wine is made in the vineyard, Seghesio Family Vineyards pairs more than a century’s worth of experience in the vineyard with labor-intensive farming techniques that reduce yields, increase quality and ensure wines of outstanding purity and balance. True to the winery’s heritage, Seghesio Family Vineyards is focused mainly on Zinfandel and a handful of Italian varieties. Andy Robinson is the winemaker.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
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.