Brovia * Arneis * Roero, Piedmont, Italy 2018


Tart young apricot, spicy like a sprig of sage, nervey with citrus. Refreshing like a scoop of sorbato but with a soft creamy texture more like green tea ice cream. Elusive magic in its ability to boast both ample ripeness as well as persistent crispness. A lofty target in most white wines, let alone in a challenging grape like Arneis – if all Arneis displayed this much vibrancy, I’d have been paying better attention long ago. Brovia nailed it here, but beware that you may find yourself with an empty bottle before you can even pinpoint how much you’re in love. 

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This grape has had its share of well deserved praise, though prior to the surge of attention in the eighties it was very scarcely planted. As a grape it is known as being one of the more vexing varieties to grow due to the impossibly small picking window it seems to have. Producers express that one day it can be obviously underripe and not yet ready and then the next day it can suddenly too late. This can show up in the differing styles of Arneis wines one can find these days where some wines just never show the complexity that was hoped for. The very small amount of producers who know how to find that sweet spot have risen to the top, thankfully, and Arneis continues to be a wonderful wine worth exploring.

The Brovia family is a benchmark for organic farming in Barolo and their wines have always been a sought after due to their attention to the soils and to their site specific ‘Cru’ wines. Daughters of Giancinto Brovia, Christina and Elena, run the show here and there are few producers like this that I can taste the wines every vintage and know exactly what to expect. This is no small feat due to the fact that they do everything in the most natural process possible – a philosophy that can sometimes lead to inconsistency for many reasons. Brovia excels in quality with their Nebbiolo (150 years making Barolo) and Barbera (personal favorite) wines, but it needs to be said that this Arneis drinks on a level well beyond its neighbors and peers.