We were in Ducca, a very good Italian restaurant in San Francisco, ready to tuck into one salad of fresh sardines with grapefruit and another of roasted beets, plus a few nibbles of arancini (cheese-filled rice balls) and cubes of spicy polenta. Clearly, this food called for a fresh, lively white wine.
Arneis is a white wine grape that grows alongside Nebbiolo in Italy's Langhe region, home of Barbaresco and Barolo. It can make the perfect style of wine to slide easily into a cozy relationship with the kinds of dishes we were having. Although we hadn't tasted this wine before, we knew Vietti for its pure, crystal-clear red wines, so the Roero Arneis 2007 ($42 on the wine list) jumped out as an obvious choice.
And it worked well, with its vivid quince and citrus flavors, polished texture and welcome minerality. The deft balance was especially beguiling, neither too heavy nor too light. 89 points, non-blind. It can be found at retail for around $20.