Episode 406 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Stefano Almondo of the Giovanni Almondo winery in Piemonte’s Roero zone.
Arneis is sort of like Gruner Veltliner, in that it was a forerunner for grape varieties in the market. When consumers began searching around for Anything But Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner offered a stark, bracing alternative. It was the first in the door, and the most successful, of the relatively unknown grape varieties from around the world that could participate with the same level of complexity as Chardonnay, but which offered a different flavor profile and flexibility with food. It became a Sommelier Darling as a result. But then many, many other grape varieties from around the world came through the door that Gruner had opened, and the landscape for drinkers became much more diverse. Arneis is similar in that it was one of the first indigenous Italian grape varieties to be embraced specifically because it was unique to its place within Italy and a good match with many foods. After the great success of Arneis, a grape variety which at one point was virtually extinct but which now sells in the millions of bottles each year, many other nearly extinguished indigenous Italian grape varieties would also find favor with consumers. But Arneis was really a forerunner of the indigenous Italian movement. Stefano Almondo gives a great tour of Arneis in this interview, and if you are curious about this important grape, Stefano has your answers. There are several surprise take aways from what he has to say, including one aspect that Arneis shares with several other indigenous grapes that were almost lost to time: its history as a grape for sweet wines. Now Arneis is almost always dry, but the really miracle is that it exists at all.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine