07 Sep Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Idlewild 2021 Arneis, Lost Hills Ranch, Yorkville Highlands
Aromas burst out of the glass as I swirled the wine with a beautiful rich yellow color. The aromas alone had me hooked. Then I took a sip. A perfect expression of how amazing white wines are with their aromatics and texture. That is why the Idlewild 2021 Arneis from Lost Hills Ranch in the Yorkville Highlands is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Arneis is an indigenous grape grown in the Roero region of Piedmont, Italy. Once called “Nebbiolo biano”, Arneis means “terrible child” due to its vinification challenges. The grape was almost extinct in Italy by the 1960s but luckily there has been replanting beginning in the 1970s by Italian winemakers who saw its potential. And some California winemakers see its potential as well. There are approximately 60 acres planted in California with the majority planted in Sonoma and Mendocino.
Sam Bilbro of Idlewild Wines is one of these people who believes in Arneis’ potential. Sam focuses on the grapes of Piedmont, Italy and grows them in Mendocino County and Russian River Valley. In addition to Arneis, he is growing Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Cortese, Barbera, Grignolino, Freisa, Erbaluce, Favorita, Nascetta, Timorosso, Pelaverga, Brachetto and Ruché!
The Arneis comes from Sam’s Lost Hills Vineyard in Yorkville in Mendocino County. The vineyard sits at 1200+ feet in elevation and is located in a continental climate influenced by a massive cold source. Sam describes it as “our Alps” and it is the perfect condition for the Italian grape varieties from Piedmont.
The grapes are whole cluster pressed and fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging for four months in neutral oak. There is a beautiful balance between floral and savory notes on this wine. Aromas of lemon, pear, and jasmine jump out of the glass. On the palate, the wine has a weighted texture with mineral and beeswax flavors but is also fresh with bright acidity with salinty. There is a bitter almond finish which is very typical of Italian white wines.
With so much texture and complexity, this is a wine can be enjoyed on its own but will also pair with a variety of dishes, from roasted chicken or turkey to pasta with seafood to a cheese plate. The Idlewild 2021 Arneis, Lost Hills Ranch, Yorkville Highlands is such a beautiful wine and it only costs $30!