Wine of the Week: 2010 Arneis from Giovanni Almondo Roero, Piemonte, Italy
More and more wines from the Piemonte region are making their way to wine lists nationwide as sommeliers eschew the traditional France, California, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay route. This arneis provides a touch of sweet, a touch of mineral, but also a full body of a chardonnay without the oak. It is right at its prime, with a floral nose leading to that superb body recognizing a fresh bosc pear at first taste.
Domenico Almondo started his winery 32 years ago and now boasts vineyards producing Arneis, Nebbiolo, and Barbera, with up to 90,000 bottles made in total per year. Almondo still manages to keep his wine feeling personal, with a light touch apparent through each taste. Italian wine has an unfortunate reputation for reds being too weak and whites too minerally. Two young Italian-Californian restaurants in San Francisco boast exceptionally chosen, compact, exciting Italian wine lists, and I very much enjoyed this Arneis at both Piccino and Cotogna. Curiously enough I was just blind sampling at Cotogna a few of their white wine choices and felt this was the most riveting and refreshing of the options…the same I enjoyed days earlier at Piccino. Whether with the stellar farro with cauliflower at Piccino or any of the lighter pastas at Cotogna designed by Michael Tusk, be certain to sample this Arneis from Almondo.