Vietti winery celebrates the 50th anniversary of Roero Arneis
We are pleased to introduce you to Vietti’s special 50th anniversary bottling of Roero Arneis.
Below, winemaker Luca Currado shares the story of Vietti’s Roero Arneis:
The historical roots of Arneis date back to the 1400s, but it was not confirmed as a distinct varietal until 1810, as far as we know, when the term “Castello de Monticello d’Alba,” property of the Count of Roero, appeared for the first time in an inventory of the cantina Monticello d’ Alba.
Following the pages of history, one lost track due to the tragic affects linked to the two world conflicts of the past century, as well as the nefarious spread of phylloxera. Consequently, it was after the first half of the 20th century when one started talking about the quality of Arneis as a native varietal from the Roero area. Prior to this time, it had been forgotten in the evolution of winemaking in Piedmont, which favored almost exclusively red wines. At that point in time is when we started talking about making a Vietti Arneis.
My father, Alfredo Currado, had been a passionate and attentive researcher of wines, always ready to recognize the uniqueness of a native varietal. He knew well the area of Roero, of which he particularly appreciated the delicate taste and elegant perfumes of the Nebbiolo grape. In the 1960s, he became fascinated by a white that, right there in the Roero region, various farmers were trying to make into wine in order to keep alive a tradition that was experiencing moments of increasing commercial difficulty.
The negative stigma that the Arneis grape experienced at that time was tied essentially to two factors: On one hand, there were few consumers, not only from Piedmont, but in general, who consumed white wine. On the other hand, there was a discrepancy in the quality and capabilities of white winemaking in the Roero region, as in the rest of Italy, due to a lack of technological know-how in the wineries—something that is taken for granted today, but at that time was unknown. White wine was essentially produced like a red wine, with the skins boiled in the must without the help of a horizontal press and without tanks that would allow the use of cold stabilization and temperature control.
Alfredo Currado was a visionary during that complex period of Italian white winemaking history. He chose the Arneis grape because he was convinced of the structural potential of this grape, which is not very rich in aroma but possesses a seductive presence on the palate. He chose the Roero region because it was a zone where they were already cultivating this grape, which was well-suited for growth there, even though it was only grown in small quantities. It was found in hundreds of vineyards, proving that it was not just a passion of a few, but the soul of an entire region. My father was also forward thinking because he knew how to understand the great demand of the market that would develop in the decades to come. On the one hand, there was the desire to drink white wine with a meal. On the other hand, people were finally valuing the native varietals that would allow for the expression of a region based on its own uniqueness, avoiding the risk of being tied to the more commonly distributed international varieties.
The die was cast in 1967 when Vietti bottled the first varietal Arneis and became synonymous with the white wine. Nearly two decades later, in 1985, Roero was established as a DOC and then as a DOCG in 2004. Today, decades after our first bottling, our family remains happily convinced that the choice to bottle Arneis exclusively was the best choice. It was not only because it represented the discipline of our heritage, but because it objectively offered the consumer a white wine rich in sensory characteristics that put it among the most interesting whites in the national panorama.
The Vietti winery, today led by the family’s fifth generation, is based in the small medieval village of Castiglione Falletto, the heart of Piedmont’s famous “Langhe” wine region. Here, the Currado family carefully and patiently handcrafts lauded wines that are the result of a unique combination of sun and soil.
While the family has made wine for two centuries, the first Vietti-labeled wines were produced by third-generation Mario, who transformed the family’s farm into a grape growing winery. In 1952, Alfredo Currado married Mario’s daughter Luciana and made a name for Vietti’s single-vineyard Barbera and Barolo. Alfredo was responsible for putting the native Piedmont varietal, Arneis, on the wine map. In 1990, Alfredo and Luciana’s son Luca returned to Italy to take the role of winemaker after working at California’s Simi Winery, Opus One, Long Vineyards and Bordeaux’s Mouton-Rothschild. His innovative winemaking blends the best aspects of the modern and traditional.
For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Jarvis Communications at 310.313.6374.