2018 Marco Porello, Roero Arneis DOCG “Camestri” Piedmonte, Italy.
Arneis, which has been the Porello’s signature grape since the 1930s, is one of the tastiest treats in Italian white wine and can be truly excellent wines, like this Marco Porello Camestri 2018, which comes from the family’s organically farm vines in the Roero zone in Piedmonte’s Canele area, not too far away from Alba and Barolo with similar marl based soils. This crisp and vibrant Arneis gains in charm and depth as it unwinds in the glass with clear almost greenish/gold hue and light perfume of white flowers, ginger and anise coming through along with a range of citrusy fruit on the light to medium bodied palate with touches of steely mineral, white peach, wet stone and bitter liquid almonds. This white impresses for its brisk nature and zippy personality, but adds a textural dimension with food that gives the impression of seriousness and nobility. Coming from mainly from two distinct parcels with good exposures in the sub-appellations of Vezza d’Alba and Canele set on sandy and calcareous plots that give this wine its substance and ripe tone. If you are new to Arneis, the name translates to “little rascal” in the local dialect, given to the grape, because of its trickiness in the vineyard, as it needs lots of TLC. I highly recommend getting a few examples and dig into this grape, with Vietti, who is credited with saving Arneis from extinction, and Bruno Giacosa, as well as Marco Porello being great choices.
Marco Porello, the grandson of founder Cesare Porello, is as noted in my earlier review of his Barbera, an expert oenologist, he was educated first at the local Alba oenological school and then he studied in the Bordeaux, France, as well as spending some time training and gaining experience in the rival Tuscany region in Chianti Classico before returning and taking over the Porello estate. Marco Porello has run the winery since 1994, and now has over a 25 year track record and is highly admired for his wines, these offerings, which I first tried at San Francisco’s Slow Wine tasting event, include a collection of Barbera, Nebbiolo and this Arneis, with the winery mainly focused on Barbera, deservingly so, especially when you taste Marco’s brilliant examples. The Marco Porello Roero Arneis was all hand tended and hand harvested with great attention to sorting and careful grape selection to ensure intense flavors and quality. This vintage as per normal was fermented and aged solely in stainless steel tanks to promote clarity and freshness of detail, making for a zesty dry and floral white that goes great with tapas, appetizers and briny sea foods, like oysters and or smoked mussels. If you’ve not heard of or seen the Marco Porello wines, you should make a mental note to check them out, in particular the Barbera and this Arneis, which is a sublime value at around $15 a bottle. Piedmonte, mostly known for Nebbiolo and red wines has plenty to offer in interesting white wines and they should not be overlooked with Erbaluce, Timorasso and Arneis among the most intriguing.
($15 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive