Arneis is a white grape variety, most commonly thought to originate from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy. The name Arneis literally means “the little rascal” given how finicky the varietal is to grow. It’s often susceptible to disease in the vineyard and can struggle to retain acidity unless it’s grown in the right climate. But when you get it right it can make a beautiful perfumed wine with texture and great acidity.
You’ll often find Arneis growing as a single varietal, but historically it has been blended with Nebbiolo in parts of Italy such as Barolo where it helps to soften the tannins and helps to add aromatics to the wine.
Holm Oak can proudly claim to be the only Tasmanian winery growing and producing Arneis. Holm Oak’s Arneis vineyard is only 400 vines strong – so we don’t have a huge amount of vines to produce a huge quantity of wine, but what we do make is fantastic. According to Vinodiversity, only about 60 wine producers in Australia grow and produce this variety including Tertini, Thick as Thieves, Symphonia, Stefani Estate, Sam Miranda and Rowlee. Throughout Australia you’ll often find this varietal grown in cool climates, such as the King Valley, the Mornington Peninsula and the Adelaide Hills. Arneis thrives particularly well in Tasmania because this thick-skinned variety can stand up to the frost and other fungal diseases that result from our very cool climate.
Our winemaker Bec Duffy talks a little about this fascinating white varietal
What does Arneis taste like?
We’d describe this wine as a cross between Riesling, with its mineral flinty acidity, and Sauvignon Blanc, with its rich texture. It displays a chalky tannin structure and high acidity levels, which makes it an ideal food wine.
Traditionally wine writers describe Arneis as having peach and almond characteristics, but when it’s grown in our cool-climate Tasmanian backyard, it displays more zesty citrusy traits, like grapefruit, with floral aromas in a leaner, fruit-driven style.
What food do you eat with Arneis?
There’s so much choice with matching Arneis with food. Team it with fresh seafood, flathead, prawns or creamy pastas and you’ll be coming back for more.
Try our 2019 Holm Oak Arneis
In 2020 Halliday Wine Companion, the 2019 Holm Oak Arneis was awarded ‘Best of the Best’ scoring 96 points with Halliday noting:
“Well well, this is a revelation. 25% of the juice was fermented in a Numblot egg, 75% in old oak barrels. Grapefruit/ honeysuckly/ lychee aromas are precisely replicated on the delicious palate. Just when you wonder whether it’s a bit too much, Tasmanian acidity puts you back on track.” James Halliday – August 2020
Go on, give it a try. It may just become your new favourite white wine. Our 2019 vintage was absolutely exceptional and there’s only a small parcel of this wine available. A wine with great depth, with vibrant honeysuckle, lychee and grapefruit characters on the nose and the palate. The partial fermentation and maturation in a concrete Numblot egg gives the wine added texture and complexity. On the palate you’ll enjoy great concentration, with a delicious flinty, slately acidity.