NEW RELEASES: Two Piemontese whites from Vietti: 2022 Roero Arneis and 2021 Timorasso

NEW RELEASES: Two Piemontese whites from Vietti: 2022 Roero Arneis and 2021 Timorasso

Two Piemontese whites from Vietti

2022 Roero Arneis, Vietti - £105 per 6 in bond
2021 Timorasso Derthona, Colli Tortonesi, Vietti - £160 per 6 in bond

These two whites from Vietti are outstanding values; they are keenly priced, but equally stand out for the quality on show. I am yet to encounter an Arneis that I rate as highly as this, and while there may be other examples of Timorasso of a similar quality, they tend to be in a richer, late harvest style. Consequently, we buy all we can of the Timorasso and a significant volume of the Arneis, but that doesn’t mean stocks hang around! Both wines have certainly struck a chord with Atlas clients.
A few words on the varieties:
Arneis is a lesser-known white grape variety grown in Piemonte, in north-western Italy. I would suggest that the vast majority of examples lack any real distinction, but it is a different story when produced by top estates like Vietti, where it is capable of producing terrific everyday drinking wines. Arneis can be a tricky varietal to grow, hence its name in dialect, literally ‘little rascal’. It performs best on the lighter, sand-over-limestone soils of Roero on the northern bank of the river Tanaro opposite the town of Alba and is therefore most often labelled as Roero Arneis. It prefers north-facing slopes, protected from the afternoon heat as these slopes encourage gradual ripening without the loss of either acidity or aromatics. Arneis is not particularly high in acidity…it is fresh, but tends to be in a softer, more rounded style. Some styles can lack expression, others are a little honeyed and lack a certain energy. However, if yields are restrained and if it is grown in the conditions detailed above, it offers plenty of interest, surprising quality, and very good value for money. Interestingly, it was Alfredo, the father of Vietti’s current owner, Luca Currado, who worked hard to change the fortunes of Arneis, so championing obscure varieties is not uncommon to Vietti whether it be Arnieis or Timorasso.

Timorasso is found in the area known as the Colli Tortonesi, which lies close to the border between Piemonte and Lombardy, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna. Despite the variety historically having enjoyed success on the blue marl ‘Tortonian’ soils of the region, it fell out of favour when phylloxera ravaged the vineyards of Europe in the late 1800s and, from the beginning of the 20th century, it was red varieties that started to dominate in the region. Saving this variety from extinction is largely credited to Walter Massa and Andrea Mutti, both of whom worked towards developing a greater understanding of the variety and whose winemaking efforts sparked a resurgence of interest…as well as interest from the Currados at Vietti.
Timorasso is not some simple, early drinking varietal, low on complexity and low on ageing potential – quite the reverse. It is capable of making surprisingly complex whites with the ability to age well. Timorasso possesses a good acidity, it is lively in its youth, and it is a variety that benefits from some skin contact. It can at first seem very restrained on the nose, but it really opens up with air. Timorasso styles can obviously vary depending on where it is grown and vintage conditions, as well as the winemaking approach employed. They can range from the racy, lively, apple and citrus styles to more viscous, rounded, exotic styles, all the while retaining their aromatic expression and acidity. I should stress that the Currados have focused on Timorasso, not to add a simple early drinking style to their portfolio, rather they have added Timorasso as they have become convinced by its potential and unique character and wanted to make an age-worthy white from an indigenous variety. I believe this is the fourth vintage they have released, and it would be fair to say that they are off to a very strong start.

The wines

2022 Roero Arneis, Vietti 
£105 per 6 bottle case in bond 

The 2022 Arneis from Vietti shows really well, it reveals more of a citrussy accent to its juicy peach/nectarine fruit, with almost orangey notes coming through. There is that slightly nutty, peach kernel character that seems common to the variety. Vietti’s winemaking skill once more delivers a wine with fine purity and a freshness that is seldom found with Arneis. So well crafted, this is a highly individual white from a lesser-known variety, with just the merest hint of viscosity. This is hard to fault – if you enjoy a fresher accent in your whites drink sooner, but if you want to see the rounder fruit character come to the fore, six to twelve months in bottle will lead to those softer stone fruit notes dominating. Drink now until 2025.


2021 Timorasso Derthona, Colli Tortonesi, Vietti
£160 per 6 bottle case in bond

A green/gold in the glass. The aromas really impress with subtle notes of greengage, lemon peel and zesty green grapefruit, all of which open with air. The palate captures tangy, zesty fruits underscored by a vibrant acidity with fine complexity and a discreet leesy note. The impression is that 2021 is a cooler vintage and, therefore, one that will reward a little more cellarage. The purity and texture we have come to recognise are certainly on show – this Timorasso really blossoms with time in the glass, filling out to revealing juicier fruit characters and more volume. Undoubtedly, Vietti’s Timorasso continues to go from strength to strength as they learn to understand how to bring out the best in the variety. There is no necessity to age this wine, but it feels as if it has the staying power if desired. (SL) 2024-2030+

Please let us know of your interest.

All the best,

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