Arneis is a variety of white grapes up to a few decades ago even in danger of extinction, today instead cultivated with increasing interest in different areas of Piedmont, the region of which it is native. The area of historical production is properly the Roero (the left bank of the river Tanaro), where, for the use of accompanying it to Nebbiolo in order to soften the roughness of the reds, it is also called “White Barolo”.
In the early seventies only a couple of wineries bottled white wine from arneis grapes; in the following decade the growing attention of oenologists and consumers brought the number of annual bottles produced around three million units, above all thanks to the attention given to this vine by the brothers Bruno and Marcello Ceretto, with their Blangé, Arneis delle Langhe . The Doc dates back to the Nineties, but the current arrangement includes the Docg for Roero Arneis (which in the modification of the specification entered into force in 2017 also recognizes the type Riserva, with 14 months of maturation, and Spumante), with at least 95% of arneis grapes, and Doc Langhe Arneis (where Passito is recognized) with a minimum of 85% and a yield slightly higher for hectare (110 quintals against 100).
In the Roero area there are about 920 hectares cultivated with arneis, for a total of nearly 6 and a half million bottles, with a positive growth trend that bodes well for the years to come.
The wine made from Arneis grapes is generally slightly aromatic, light, with just herbaceous olfactory scents and a taste reminiscent of almond. The acidic component is rather lacking, in particular if the grapes have reached an optimal ripening stage. It is generally a simple and pleasant wine and it was thought that it was not inclined to age, but in recent years some producers have made particularly complex and surprising versions and the introduction of the Riserva type in the specification, suggests that the producers believe in its potential to let it age.