Nebbiolo is arguably the defining grape of Piemonte. Barolo, the "King of Wines," and Barbaresco, "the Queen of Wines," sit at the top of the heap in Piemonte. Below these two Nebbiolo wines sits Barbera, "the People's Wine," and a few rungs below rests Dolcetto, "the little sweet one." But growing amidst the hills and swirls of Piemonte grow a treasure trove of grapes that you might not ever have heard about. Barbera Bianca. Erbaluce. Somillon. Freisa. Pelaverga. Ruche. No wonder why Italian wines always have the potential to surprise and delight.
Today, I'm happy to spotlight Cornarea 2014 Roero Arneis, a white wine made one of Italy's most overlooked indigenous grapes, Arneis. Cornarea, founded in the mid '70s by the family that owns the estate to this day, essentially rescued Arneis from the brink of obscurity. Its Roero DOCG Arneis is the standard-bearer for the wine--a white that will bring to mind comparisons to Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, but one that balances its white fruit with lip-smacking saline minerality.
Along with this delicious white, I'm pleased to present a pair of very different, but very exciting reds. The first is the very first bottle from Montalcino's 2014 vintage. A Rosso di Montalcino always gives you insight into the vintage, and this Rosso from Collemattoni is particularly exciting because 2014 threw everything at Montalcino's winemakers--heat, rain, hail, sun, and unusually good weather just before harvest. There's a lot going on in this "baby Brunello," and fans of Sangiovese Grosso won't want to miss it. Finally, there is one singular collector Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux from Emmanual Rouget, and it will make serious Burgundy lovers very, very happy.