Wine of the Week

Ghiomo Arneis Inprimis 2014

For this week, I wanted to find something a little "out of the ordinary."  Started thumbing through some of my issues of various magazines, grabbing my tablet and sorting through other reviewers and just walking around a couple of my favorite wine shops (that's always one of my favorites).  Bam (respects to Emeril), it hit me.  A wine that I have had a long but not often relationship.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I cut my teeth on getting REALLY involved in wines many years ago and at a time when Italian wines were at their best.  The 1997 Vintage.  What a perfect time to not only get involved in wine but have such an assortment of great wines from a number of areas of the world, Italy being one of them.

Back then I was trying almost anything from Italy.  So while I was out searching, I decided to peruse through the Italian section to see what I might find.  I was looking for something white.  I know it's pretty easy to find a Pinot Grigio, maybe even a Chardonnay and a host of other white varietals.  Then I remember a wine I had years ago that I had fallen in love with, Arneis.

Like a number of others countries, Italy has its share of indigenous grape varieties.  But I remembered Arneis due to its richness and different flavor profile.  Arneis, meaning little rascal, has a reputation for being a difficult grape to grow.  Coming from the Piedmont region of Italy, principally either from the DOCG region of Roero or the DOC region of Langhe, Arneis is known for floral notes on the aroma and flavor of the wine.  Crisp acidity and dryness helps make the wine a perfect accompaniment to lighter fare, such as salads and lighter meats, such as seafood and chicken.

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The specific wine that caught my eye was one from the Langhe region, but had the distinction of being one of the few single vineyard wines of the area.  Azienda Agricola “Ghiomo", or just Ghiomo for short, producing their Arneis Langhe Inprimis 2014.  At the shelf price of only $16.99, and showing a store review giving it 91 Points, I was in!

That night, with chicken breast in hand (okay, maybe not in hand but out to be prepared), I set out an accompaniment of veggies to go along with the meal and proceeded to open the bottle before me.  I opened the bottle before dinner as I read on the winery's website that they recommended letting the wine aerate for 30 minutes or so.  Since I always like to discover why they might make that suggestion, I did my usual, SSS (swirl, sip, swallow) right away to evaluate how the wine might change 30 minutes from then.  

As I remembered my tasting of Arneis from years past, I was stuck by unique aromas of the floral characteristics I mentioned, and a sense of honey, or honeysuckle.  Here's where I'll tell you that the half hour of aeration came in to play.  When first opened, those aromas were not as distinct and maybe even bordering on a funkiness.  Now don't be put off on this observation.  Old world wines will sometimes give off scents that cover a wide range of what might be off putting aromas.  They generally do pass with a little aeration as this one did.

The flavors of the wine brought me back to what I remember.  Starting with that floral aroma and progressing on the palate into a honeyed and apricot note with nice acidity to balance the wine.  The dry finish with nice length was just right for my chicken preparation.  

So if you want to venture out and try something a little different, consider an Arneis.  They're not everywhere, but a wine shop with decent selections should carry an Arneis from either the Langhe or Roero districts. 

Cheers