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Wine

Know Your Varietal - Arneis

Adam Walls reveals how Arneis,  Italy’s ‘little rascal’ is proving a hit in Australia thanks to its rich appeal.

Crisp and floral, Arneis is a white that Italian winemakers often blend with Nebbiolo to add a touch of sweetness and perfume. In Australia, it’s proving tough to grow due to the fact that it’s low-cropping and susceptible to many vineyard diseases. However, it’s certainly an emerging hit.

Arneis - an Infographic Guide

Australian Arneis infographic guide

Origins

Arneis hails from the North Western Italian region of Piedmont where it is most famously associated with the white wines of Roero. The fact that Roero sits across the river from the famous Barolo means that Arneis has earned the nickname of Barolo Bianco (white Barolo). It is also thought that the variety’s name is derived from a Piedmontese word meaning “little rascal”. This is due to the fact that the grapes are hard to grow as Arneis is a low cropping variety and is susceptible to mildew.

Did you know?

Arneis vines were sometimes planted next to Nebbiolo vines, but largely as a form of protection – the Arneis grapes’ stronger fragrance distracted hungry birds and insects away from the more highly prized Nebbiolo.

Australian Arneis

In Italy, Piedmont is a cool region with lots of hills, so it makes perfect sense that the most successful regions in Australia for Arneis are cooler with many having rolling hills like South Australia’s Adelaide Hills, Victoria’s King Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, and the NSW Southern Highlands. Arneis from a cool climate region gives good balance between fruit and acidity. In warm vintages, Arneis shows lower acidity and a more powerful fruit profile.

Arneis Tasting Notes

Arneis produces very fragrant wines with notes of pear and apple. The elegance of the aroma hides the fact that the wines are medium to full bodied with pear, apple, stone fruit and nutty notes.

With its rich flavour profile, Arneis will appeal to anyone who loves fruit-driven Chardonnay or Verdelho.

Food matching

Given its soft acidity and texture, Arneis pairs well with lighter food flavours. Try seafood pasta, salads with creamy sauces and shellfish.

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Pinot Gris vs Grigio: What’s the difference?
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PIÙ LEGGERO PINOT GRIGIO The word Grigio is the Italian for "grey" and has made a name for being a light, crisp wine ideal for early drinking and is most famously known in the regions of Veneto and Friuli. Bonjour! is it gris you’re looking for? Gris is French for "grey" and in France it finds its home in the Alsace region. French Pinot Gris is generally known for being a rich, full-bodied white with a smooth, silky texture. AUSSIE PINOT G GOODESS The variety was first introduced to the Hunter Valley with the James Busby collection of 1832, however, it wasn't until the 1990s that it started to emerge. Thanks to winemaking couple Kathleen Quealy and Kevin McCarthy, Pinot G is now one of Australia’s most popular white varietals. Kathleen and Kevin started their vineyard in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1998 and set about planting a range of varietals suited to the climate, including Pinot Gris. They released their first commercial Pinot Gris in 1933, and have huge success since, and are now seen as setting the benchmark for Australian interpretations. Their son Tom, a winemaker at Quealy wines, has inherited his parents' passion for Pinot G and has completed vintages in the homes of both the Gris and Grigio styles. "I’ve worked vintages at Domain Paul Blanck in Alsace, where Pinot Gris is one of four premium varieties", he explains. "Their vineyards define the quality and the personality of each of their wines. They revel in the power and voluptuousness of these wines, from bone dry with the generous dollop of extract in the middle palate, to off dry with enough flavour and structure to make the wine balanced and suitable with a main course. They’re able to make and market their even richer sweeter late harvest styles. The wines are beautiful to drink, slightly drying out with a few years bottle age, and suit their dishes of duck and pork. "I have also worked and spent time in Friuli. Their lighter soils and their food culture define their Pinot Grigio style: crunchy pear, dry and textured. The winemaking art of blending abounds. There are field blends and regional blends of many white varieties, with Pinot Grigio a central component." AUSSIE WINE REGIONS PINOT G LOVES According to Wine Australia “While it’s nowhere near the heady heights of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot G, is growing rapidly with plantings of the grape outstripping Viognier, Verdelho, Muscat, Colombard and Riesling, and it’s now nipping at the heels of Semillon.” In Australia, the cool climate regions of Mornington Peninsula, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills, Orange, King Valley and Great Southern have the ideal conditions to produce high quality fruit and that allow winemakers to experiment with styles. MORNINGTON PENINSULA Tom Quealy says the  Mornington Peninsula 's superior suitability for Pinot G is down to a combination of regional factors. 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This is reflective of the Gris-Grigio overlap that Tim sees as common in Australia. "We have countless fantastic wines that tend towards either the richer Gris characters or lighter aromatic Grigio characteristics. There are also wines that exhibit traits of both, take our  Wicks Estate Pinot Gris , for example. We like the sharpened focus and aromatic style of the Grigio, but tend to lean towards the textural qualities of Gris on the palate. The styles have their own identity; however, we have diverse terroir and climate in Australia that can lend itself to a hybrid style." 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Winemakers have the luxury of cool weather to retain delicate flavours and enough sunlight to achieve ripening. “The Trophy and 2 x Gold medal-winning Angullong Pinot Grigio 2019 and Gold medal-winning Printhie Mountain Range Pinot Gris 2018 are both fantastic examples coming out of the Orange region,” say Adam Walls, Tasting Panellist, Wine Show Judge, Wine Educator and 2019 Len Evans Tutorial Dux. “Simply put, the Printhie is one of the best we’ve tasted in 2019 – rich and full-bodied, with concentrated fruit flavours, grapefruit-like acidity, supple mouthfeel and a creamy finish in a solid Gris style. More proof, if it was needed, of the Orange region’s ability to excite with the sheer quality of wines that it’s producing,” Adam says. “Certain to take out more awards, the Angullong Pinot Grigio delivers soft, savoury yellow fruits with subtle herbaceous notes, pear, nectarine, ginger and dried herb and a juicy acid finish.” GREAT SOUTHERN The Great Southern region of Western Australia is a relatively new playground for Pinot G producers. 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Merlot Members Tasting
Words by Ralph Kyte Powell on 4 Jun 2018
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Byron & Harold | Wines of the Season
History Two lovers of wine, Paul Byron and Harold (Ralph) Dunning joined forces with vigneron Andrew Lane to form Byron & Harold. With more than 65 years combined experience in wine, they meticulously seek out parcels of wine they know Australian wine lovers will love. Based in WA’s Great Southern, Byron & Harold deliver wines with flavour, true to their variety – wines with provenance. Tasting Notes Brilliant pale straw in the glass, this gorgeous Rose & Thorns Riesling presents complex aromas of citrus blossom, lemon zest and green apple with underlying floral notes.  On the palate, it appeals with a long, fleshy mouth feel, and gorgeous characters of lemon blossom and crunchy green apple with complex floral notes complemented by well integrated natural acidity leading to a lovely crisp mineral finish. The 2017 vintage The 2017 vintage was one of the latest vintages in recent times, reminiscent more of the 1990s. With an abundance of groundwater, soil temperatures remained cool, which delayed budburst by three to four weeks. Flowering and fruit set were also exceptional due to the levels of groundwater. Although it was a challenging vintage, the long, cold wet winter combined with the mild summer has resulted in some exceptional fruit. + Food The natural acidity in Riesling makes it a beautiful match with a range of fresh summer seafood. Throw a feast together of prawns, ocean fish, and oysters and share this wine on a lazy afternoon with family and friends. byronandharold.com.au
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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