Sunday, August 1, 2021

Arneis from Tintero in a Sea of Moscato

Every July my brother hosts his annual company BBQ that I look forward to. It’s always a great time.  Great company, great food, fireworks so I thought it would be the perfect time to open a 2018 Tintero Arneis and pair it with this delicious orzo shrimp pasta salad dish my mom loves to make in the summer.  Plus, the convenience of a screw cap was perfect to bring to a party. 

Orzo shrimp pasta salad
The Winery ~ Azienda Agricola Tintero 

The winery was started by a Frenchman, Pierre Tintero, known to the locals as Pietrin.  It’s located in the commune of Mango within the Cuneo province.  In 1900, Pierre traveled to Piedmont in search of work.  He found a small estate where he helped a widow, Rosina Cortese, with some work.   They fell in love and 2 years later got married.  They decided to make a go at producing their own wine and bottled up their first wine in 1914 with Dolcetto grapes. 

Later, their two sons, Giovanni and Carlo, took over the business expanding the acreage of the winery.  their focus was on Moscato grapes and selling it to large negociants.  In the 1980’s Carlo’s son, Elvio, experimented with making Moscato Frizzante wines.  Today the winery is operated by the 4th generation, Elvio’s son Marco and his daughter-in-law, Cinzia.  They own about 74 acres and almost 50 of them are dedicated to the Moscato grape.  They practice sustainability across their South and Southeast facing vineyards.  I’d love to try their Moscato since this seems to be their specialty, but came across this Arneis in the store and don’t have the opportunity to try this grape often. 

The Grape ~ Arneis 

Arneis is a white grape native to the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy, more specifically the subregion of Roero.  It was an Italian grape that at one time in the 60’s faced extinction, but was rescued by Alfredo Currado of the well-known Vietti winery.   

Arneis can be a challenging grape to grow struggling at low yields and the potential to face powdery mildrew.  It has to be picked at just the right time as it can face becoming overripe and therefore has a tendency to lose acidity at higher ripeness levels.  Due to all these challenges its name in local dialect is called “little rascal”.   

Many of the producers today will produce Arneis as a single varietal bottle, but it is historically known for being blended with Nebbiolo for its floral aromatics and to help soften the big tannins of Nebbiolo.  It’s a grape that is on the drier side with medium body showing notes of pears, yellow apples, stone fruits and some nuts like almonds or hazelnuts.   

The Wine 

The 2018 Tintero Arneis Langhe DOC wine is grown on clay and limestone soil.  The juice spends 20 days fermenting in temperature-controlled tanks. The wine was brightly straw colored.  A soft, medium-bodied wine with lots of juicy pears and some yellow apple.  Not high on acidity, but rather round on the palate with a little creaminess potentially due to this wine spending 2 months on the lees.   ABV 13% SRP $16.  Imported by Kermit Lynch.    

2018 Tintero Arneis Langhe DOC

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