Piedmont's highlights: the outstanding white wines in the spotlight
Arneis, Gavi and Derthona are the white wine stars of Piedmont. All three varieties are grown in the south of the region.
Arneis is grown almost exclusively on the steep slopes of Roero, characterised by sandy soils, and is usually drunk young. Angelo Negro shows that it can be done differently, with his Arneis coming to market only seven years after the harvest - delicious!
The Cortese grape variety is the basis for Gavi, which is one of the most famous white wines in Italy. Villa Sparina 's Monterotondo comes from a single vineyard and offers memorable fruity notes as well as subtle, salty mineral components.
Timorasso, grown around Tortona and marketed as Derthona, is the undisputed white wine star of recent years. Walter Massa has brought the almost forgotten variety onto the wine stage and now famous Barolo wineries are scrambling to acquire some vineyards of Timorasso as well.
The Valle d'Aosta is, in terms of volume, a pipsqueak in the entire wine country of Italy. Besides a lot of red wine, fine white wine is also grown here. Priè Blanc is a local variety and is mainly cultivated in the high-altitude villages of Morgeaux and La Salle. Accordingly, it is also marketed as Blanc de Morgeaux et La Salle. The wines have a fine bouquet and show pronounced mineral notes.
Petite Arvine is the second white pearl of the Aosta Valley. The variety originated in Valais, where it is still widely grown today. Petite Arvine is extremely resistant to harsh winter frosts and is grown at altitudes ranging from 600 to 900 metres. Thriving a bit higher still is Rosset Terroir's Sopraquota 900, an almost delicate white with fine aromas and a graceful, racy acidity.
Montecitorio Derthona Timorasso DOC - 94 Falstaff points
Bright straw yellow with greenish components. Opens on the nose with notes of flint and cold smoke, then mirabelle plums and apple. On the palate very good tension, showing juicy fruit, fresh and crisp, then also good depth, salty and with a long finish.
Monterotondo Gavi di Gavi DOC - 93 Falstaff points
Medium straw yellow with bright reflections. Very intense nose of yellow apple, ripe quince, fresh hay and acacia, light spiciness in the finish. Very fresh and creamy on the palate, finishing with light bitter almond and citrus zest.
Sopraquota 900 Petite Arvine Vallée d'Aosta DOC - 93 Falstaff points
Rosset Terroir, Quart
Intense straw yellow. On the nose notes of citrus, herbs and mountain flowers, hints of spices and cinnamon. The palate is deep, elegant, pure and clean, with intense freshness and minerality.
Sette Anni Roero Arneis DOCG - 91 Falstaff points
Angelo Negro, Monteu Roero
Intense shimmering golden yellow with green accents. The aroma is pronounced of nettle, bergamot and lime, then pear and ripe quince, with a flinty aftertaste. Compact on the palate, spans the tongue with lively freshness, appears animatingly youthful, multi-layered in flavour, ends with a rich aftertaste of salt lemon.