kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

A Piedmont white wine that's not Gavi...

I'll be the first to admit that the wines I know the least about, overall, are Italian wines. I attribute this to the fact that there is just so much to learn--the country has been referred to as "one big vineyard." Indeed, grapes seem to be grown everywhere, and many of them are indigenous, or hard to pronounce, or both. So when I was given the opportunity recently to take on an assignment that's basically an Italian wine primer beyond Chianti and Pinot Grigio, I jumped at the chance to interview sommeliers, restauranteers, etc. who know more about Italian vino than I do.

One thing I learned (and there are many...) is that there are some great wines out there I haven't tried, including (on the white side...) Greco di Tufo and Arneis. The latter grape happens to be one of the popular white grapes coming out of the Piedmont region. This weekend, I grabbed a bottle of the 2008 Donna Anita Langhe Arneis, and was so impressed with its bitter almond, herby and vegetal notes. It had great acidity and much more complexity than I expected, especially for $12.

It went perfectly with a throw together pasta dish that I served alongside. I mixed Penne with a quick Alfredo sauce I cooked up, and peas, sauteed crispy bacon, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses. The nice acidity cut through the richness of the sauce, while the underlying bitter note paired nicely with the freshly grated Parmesan.

On to other great Italian white wines heretofore undiscovered...