Traveling and tasting across the U.S. since the beginning of the year, I’ve been impressed by the number of restaurant wine professionals who have offered me a glass of unconventional Roero Arneis.
In Austin, while visiting my client Vino Vino on Saturday, manager Kelly Voelkel poured me this super groovy “unfiltered” Arneis from Negro.
I was really glad to see this wine in the U.S. because when I visited the winery in 2010, Emanuela Negro talked about the challenges of marketing a wine called “Negro,” their family name, in the U.S.
When I brought that up with Kelly and his team, they said the issue hadn’t even occurred to them.
Already a fan of this historic family and winery in Roero, I loved this wine, its texture and saltiness in the mouth. Evidently, it’s bottled especially for the Piedmont Guy. Bravo, Piedmont guy!
Yesterday, one of the leading wine professionals in Los Angeles, Giuseppe Cossu, tasted us on this skin-contact Arneis from Luca Faccenda.
Wow, what a great wine! I won’t say it’s the “best” Roero I’ve ever tasted because there are so many great ones. But this one spoke to me and my palate in a way that few have over the course of my wine trade days.
Here, in the 2014 expression, the minerality of the wine was truly electric and its flavors layered and complex. I remember tasting the 2013 last year and being equally impressed. Wholly different vintages: the 2013 a more classic harvest; the 2014 an unusually challenging crop but with remarkably surprising results for whites.
The way Luca’s site is set up, you have to click a couple of times to get to the fact sheet. But you’ll make it and it’s worth it for the reward of reading up on how it’s vinified.
I’ve never met Luca but I can see why Giuseppe was so geeked to talk about Luca’s vision for Arneis with depth and aging potential. I’ve tasted a lot of old Arneis, some of it good but none of it truly compelling. This one has the goods imho.
I’m also excited to learn more about Luca’s nascent #SoloRoero group and their mission to raise quality and encourage innovation in the appellation.
Could groovy, crunchy, unfiltered, skin-contact Roero Arneis be the next big thing? From Austin to Los Angeles, it seems to be happening already.
In other news…
Thanks for the many shares and notes about my post this week on Matt Kramer’s Jeremiad on wine education in the U.S. today.
That one was for all those average punters out there like me who are trying to find their way in the professional world of wine today.
Thanks for reading, clicking, and sharing, and thanks for all the DMs and the support.
Taste on… Game on…
I have tried that Valfaccenda Roero Arneis. I have a soft sport for Arneis given that I first tried it on a trip to Piemonte with my then pregnant wife. I think I got a little caught up in the emotions of a mist shrouded valley, a glowing wife and a great meal at an agriturismo that I declared it the finest wine ever. I’ve then had various incarnations – Vietti, Bruno Giacosa, Malvira – all perfectly fine aperetivo wines, but the moment passed and all I am left with is a good white wine.
The Valfaccenda gave me that first initial jolt of desire once more. It’s Roero Arneis by name, but not by taste. I fell in love again and will do with every new bottle. Hopefully more people in the UK will get to know it so that the price – currently £25/$34 – will come down. The Natural Wine premium taints the experience, but only slightly.
Love Arneis, the weight, the zest. Wish it were easier to find. Sounds like it may be worth a trip north yo try.
I know you’d love this wine! Thanks for the comment SAHMmelier! Have a great weekend!
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