Italy’s northern Piedmont region is famous for its profound and long-lived red wines — the Nebbiolo-based Barolos and Barbarescos — as well as its more accessible reds made from the Barbera and Dolcetto varieties.
But Piedmont also produces some excellent white wines, especially those from the Arneis grape, which is native to the region.
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While the most familiar appellation is Roero Arneis, the grape is also widely planted in the larger Langhe area, where many Barolo and Barbaresco producers offer it as well. It is known there as Langhe Arneis.
A first-rate example is the 2018 Langhe Arneis from Cordero di Montezemolo, a delightful, straw-colored wine for summer and beyond that is loaded with complexity. It’s also a true bargain, listed on Wine-Searcher at an average price of $15, although at some stores it will be a couple of dollars or so more.
The tastes suggest pear and apricot, with floral, spice, and mineral touches. There is also a hint of saline, which provides a subtle accent to the ripe fruit notes and makes it a good food wine. It’s fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, with no exposure to oak, and alcohol is a moderate 13 percent.
The result is a delicious, easy-drinking yet interesting wine that will serve as a lovely aperitif and will pair with fish, shellfish, and other lighter dishes. We enjoyed it on a recent hot evening with a simple sauce of mussels and clams with olive oil and garlic over spaghetti.
This is one of the more charming Italian white wines I have come across recently. And fortunately, it appears to be widely available.