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  • Italy 2022 Valfaccenda Roero Arneis

2022 Valfaccenda Roero Arneis

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Their classic white comes from different vineyards (Loreto and Mompellini MGA) with different exposition and soil characteristics. Average vines age: 10-15 years, soil mainly sand with some clay and loam. Always following their own intuition, Luca & Carolina make three different harvests, treating each different before finally blending them back together. The first to be harvested are 20% of the Arneis bunches that come from the richer soils in the vineyards, the part where the plants produce more fruit, big berries, rich in juice and acidity with less sugar. They’re destemmed, pressed, racked to tank to settle for one night and spontaneous fermentation kicks off with a pied de cuvee started from a smaller harvest done 7-10 days earlier. This 20% is their “acid part” as Arneis is not an acidic grape, richer more in tartaric rather than malic acid. The second lot, 50% of the grapes, come from the same vineyards as the first 20% but are harvested generally 7-10 days after the first harvest. Here they still get some acidity but more sugar in the juice. Vinification is the same as the first 20%. After malo naturally occurs this wine is racked to a mix of concrete and steel until April when they do the final blend. The final 30% comes from the poorest and lowest organic substance part of the vineyards- exposed to the west and east, from sites named Mompellini and Loreto, where the berries are much smaller, with thicker skins richer in tannins and more ripeness. This part is, like the others, hand harvested, then destemmed and pumped in an oak vat where fermentation on the skins begins. Arneis is naturally very high in polyphenols and lends itself well to skin fermentation. They manage the maceration with hand pigeage and and a maximum of one pumpover per day. After 12-15 days they press off using a basket press and then the wine goes back in the oak vat for the end of fermentation that in total is approx. 3 weeks. After fermentation the wine stays on the lees until malo occurs and even after malo they usually don’t rack off. They usually stir the lees 2-3 times in the winter for the skin-contact portio. In April they do the final blending of all 3 components and rack the wine 2-3 times to avoid clarifying before finally bottling in June/July. Luca describes this as an expression of the fruity and salty side of the Roero. Arneis, vinified naturally, is usually more reserved on the nose but shines on the palate. The wine can be “a little bit nervous” when first opened but with some air and time it comes to live and shows why it’s a reference point wine for the varietal compared to the oceans of generic “white wine” expressions of Arneis made elsewhere in Piedmont. Older generations referred to Arneis as “white Nebbiolo” which suggests something much greater than most present day expressions of the grape. Valfaccenda’s expression is a Renaissance for the grape that shows its true potential.

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