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Arneis: A sophisticated alternative to Pinot Grigio

Difficult to pronounce, difficult to grow, but oh so easy to drink.

Arn… what? The more we delve into this series, the more we come across quite uncommon grape varieties – varieties that you may not have seen listed on a bottle before, or even know how to pronounce.

Similar to Fiano, Arneis grapes are new to Australia but have been grown in Italy since the fifteenth century. Around the world, not many countries grow Arneis – Italy, of course, and only a small amount in California and New Zealand. In Australia there are 153 hectares planted by about 50 growers.

How would you describe it?

The flavour of Arneis is heavily influenced by whether the grapes are grown in a cool or warm climate.

Cool climate

  • Citrus
  • Lemon
  • Apple
  • Herbs
  • Light
  • Fresh
  • Crisp
  • Mineral-ly

Warm climate

  • Almond
  • Honeysuckle
  • Nougat
  • Pear
  • Jasmine
  • Spice
  • Hay

Would I like it?

For white wine lovers, Arneis is a sophisticated alternative to Pinot Grigio. It’s also a great food wine – try matching it with vegetable-based dishes or lighter chicken dishes.

Where is it predominately grown?

More suited to cooler climates, most of the Arneis grapes in Australia are grown in Victoria – specifically in the King Valley and Mornington Peninsula.

I’m interested – what should I try?

So, we hope you enjoy your wine tasting of a new variety this week. And by the way, if you’re still wondering how to pronounce the word, try “[ahr-NAYZ]”. Happy shopping.

In this series, we’ve looked at four alternative white varieties – Viognier; Roussanne; Fiano and Arneis. We hope you’ve found the articles informative, and have been inspired to try something outside of your typical go-to drink. After all, variety is the spice of life! We’ll continue the series next month; looking at some alternative red wine grapes. Until then, happy white wine drinking!

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