The Arneis grape varietal has been one of the key grapes of the famous Piedmont region of Italy for centuries, and is adored by locals due to its highly aromatic nature, and the fact that it produces wines of superb quality. Wines made from Arneis varietal grapes are known for their crispness, their full body and their deliciously aromatic orchard fruit and apricot flavors However, they are somewhat notoriously difficult to grow, as they over-ripen very quickly, losing their acidity and flavors in the sunshine if left on the vine too long. Traditionally, this grape was used for blending, as its strong floral aroma was highly sought after. Nowadays, it is common to see single variety bottles made from the Arneis, and several New World countries have begun experimenting with this tricky and sensitive varietal to great effect.
For hundreds of years, the beautiful alpine region of Piedmont in north-west Italy has been producing excellent quality red wines, and some of the most characterful sparkling white wines to have ever come out of the Old World. The region is dominated by the mighty Alps which form the border between Italy, France and Switzerland, and the Moscato grapes that are grown in the foothills of this mountain range carry much of the Alps' flavors in their fruit, and are fed by crystal clear mountain waters. However, it is the Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera grapes which are the real stars of this region, and the highly respected wineries which cover much of Piedmont have generations of experience when it comes to processing and aging these grape varietals to produce the superb wines which come out of appellations such as Barolo and Barberesco.
It isn't difficult to understand why Italy is famed not just for the quality of its wines, but also for the vast variety and range of characteristics found in the wines there. The terrain of the country varies wildly, from the lush rolling green hills and valley of Tuscany, to the sun drenched rocky coasts of Sicily, the mountainous and alpine regions of the north, and the marshy lowlands of the east. Italy really does have a little bit of everything. Combine this huge range of landscapes with an almost perfect climate for grape cultivation, and you have a country seemingly designed for viticultural excellence. The results speak for themselves, and it is clear to see that wine has become an inseparable part of Italian culture as a result of its abundance and brilliance. Each village, city and region has a local wine perfectly matched with the cuisine of the area, and not an evening passes without the vast majority of Italian families raising a glass of locally sourced wine with pride and pleasure.