Arneis: Piedmont’s Lost White Wine? | Wine Folly

Piedmont, the northwestern region of Italy, is renowned for its bold and tannic red wines, such as Barolo and Barbaresco. However, there is a lesser-known gem hidden among the rolling hills of the region. Arneis, a white wine varietal from Piedmont, was on the verge of extinction just a few decades ago. Today, it has made a stunning comeback, and wine enthusiasts are rediscovering its unique flavor profile. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the history of Arneis and explore what makes this once “lost” white wine so special.

Arneis: Piedmont’s Lost White Wine? | Wine Folly


Piedmont, one of Italy’s most famous winemaking regions, is best known for its Barolo and Barbaresco red wines. However, this region has many other unique and rare grape varieties worth exploring. The Arneis, a white grape varietal, is one of those. Arneis, otherwise known as “the little rascal,” has a long history of being a difficult grape to cultivate and makes for a low-yielding crop. But the flavor of the Arneis makes it worth the effort, with a delicate balance of acidity, minerality, and fruit.

In this article, we will talk about the lost, yet now rediscovered, Arneis grape variety, its history, taste, and other unique Piedmontese grape varieties.

The Comeback Kid of Fiamonte

The Arneis grape was once on the brink of extinction in the 1970s due to its low-yielding crops and difficulty in cultivation. But thanks to renewed interest from local Piedmontese winemakers and the grape’s pleasant taste, Arneis has made a comeback. From extinction in the ’70s to now embracing the “cult grape of Piedmont,” Arneis has come a long way.

Our Nace, Nicknamed White Barolo

Arneis is used as a blending grape with Nebbiolo to soften Barolo and Barbaresco’s tannic and acidic red wines. Arneis is referred to as the “white Barolo,” although its popularity has risen in recent years as more single varietal wines have been produced.

Arnes and Its Qualities

Besides the Arneis’s history, its aroma is quintessential Piedmontese, boasting floral, almond notes as well as intense lemon fragrances. Most wine experts recommend drinking Arneis while it’s young, making it a prime candidate for a summer white wine. The best examples of Arneis come from its home DOCG (quality assurance label): Roero, which features rocky soils, and the searing heat allows the grape to thrive.

When to Drink

Arneis is a wine that is best drunk young and is not for aging, unlike its red wine counterparts.

Pairing with Food

Arneis from Roero could work well with fish dishes, lemon chicken or salt, and pepper tofu.

Unique Piedmontese Grape Varieties

Piedmont is famous for its unique grape varieties, some of which are lost and rediscovered. Let’s talk about a few examples here:


In contrast to the shy Arneis, Nascetta da Barolo is a wine that can have a vast, well-rounded body. The vineyard and vine management details determine this.


Timorasso from Novi Ligure, Timorasso, has a straw yellow color that has a strong, fruity aroma with hints of hazelnut and vanilla. The taste is balanced and spicy, with good acidity.


Erbaluce di Caluso is an exceptional wine that comes from a white grape’s varietal with the same name. The grape is grown in the Canavese zone, to the north of the Piedmontese region. The wine has a golden color and is regarded as one of Italy’s best sparkling wines due to its unique flavor.

The Rare Arneis 2021 Vintage

The 2021 vintage of Arneis is anticipated to be exceptional, with a citrus fruit flavor, and spicy characteristics from the alcohol. This recommends it as a refreshing aperitif.

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Arneis is no longer “the little rascal” and has made a considerable comeback from the brink of extinction. It is an aristocratic wine that shines with Piedmont’s cuisine. The grape comes from a unique region with rocky soils, searing heat, and a lover’s devotion to wine production that has kept it alive. Wine enthusiasts should savor the unique flavor produced by the Arneis grape and its relatives mentioned in the article.

Frequently Asked Questions about Arneis

  1. What does Arneis wine taste like?
  • Arneis has a delicate balance of acidity, minerality, and fruit with floral and almond notes.
  1. Where is the best place to drink Arneis?
  • Arneis’s best examples come from its home DOCG region, Roero, which features rocky soils and searing heat.
  1. Can Arneis age like Barolo or Barbaresco?
  • Arneis is a wine best drunk young and is not meant for aging, unlike its red wine counterparts.
  1. What food pairs best with Arneis?
  • Arneis goes well with fish dishes, lemon chicken, and salt and pepper tofu.
  1. Where can I find more information about Arneis?
  • For more information on Arneis and other unique grape varieties, Wine Folly offers a free Wine Learning Newsletter at