2022 Morra, Arneis, Roero DOCG, Piemonte, Italy.
The pale gold hued Morra Arneis, all new to me, was a pleasant surprise and a lovely effort, with this old Piemonte varietal, with delicate aromatics, a vibrant citrus burst and some tangy peach and quince fruits on the lighter side palate. There’s a sense of textural lushness, but plenty of verve, making this 2022 vintage great with Summer cuisine choices, adding some hints of wet stone, wild fennel and almond, which adds complexity to package here. The Roero appellation, with its distinctive terroir is best known for Barbera and Nebbiolo, but it is Arneis’s only DOCG and was the place were this grape came back from almost extinction before the likes of Giacosa and Luca Currado helped bring it back to life with a series of top notch offerings in the 1990s. Morra actually did their own Arneis for the first time in 1990 and this version has a lot to admire, along with the winery’s main focus Barbera, which I hope to get my hands on soon as well.

The Morra family, now led by Stefanino, and the youngest generation, Luca and Erica, who are being primed to take on the winery in the coming years, have a long history, dating back to the 1920s here in the Roero zone and the village Castellinaldo. This area was remote back then, mostly known for, as the winery notes, peaches and the Morra’s only took to grapes after World War Two, in fact the family did just home use stuff until the 1980s. As mentioned, the main efforts at Morra are their Roero Barbera DOCG bottlings, but I still highly recommend this excellent Arneis, and especially for the fact that this estate only produces a tiny amount of wine for export and the pricing is wonderfully reasonable. Arneis, which doesn’t like heavy clay soils, needs small yields, and more limestone, sand and pebbles to really shine and the Roero provides that, which is why it has achieved its DOCG status. Fermented and aged exclusively in stainless steel also helps promote its best qualities and preserves purity and freshness, as this Morra shows with exceptional clarity.
($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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