Casina Val del Prete Roero Arneis “Luet” 2017
Winegrower: Mario Roagna, Casina Val del Prete
Region: Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Available: Fall 2017
“Casina Val del Prete is one of the leading estates of Roero. Working out of his tiny estate in Priocco, proprietor Mario Roagna fashions wines that are remarkable for their sheer pleasure and drinkability. His Arneis is a rich, gloriously fruity, mouth-filling wine that is soft, even unctuous.”
- Robert Parker, Jr.
Today we are thrilled to offer an extraordinary white Italian wine from Mario Roagna, one of Roero’s foremost biodynamic winegrowers. Mario’s Casina Val del Prete Roero Arneis “Luet” 2017 is structured, complex white wine that is dry, crisp and refreshing with ample body. This is an incredibly versatile wine that you’ll be happy you bought by the case because it represents such great value.
Roero, though dwarfed by its more famous neighbours, is a region to know. It’s a small DOCG of rolling, hilly vineyards that extends for 25 km on the banks of the Tanaro River opposite the town of Alba, and is known for its refreshing white Arneis and its bold, fragrant and well-priced Nebbiolo wines. The region was upgraded to DOCG status (Italy’s highest in terms of quality) in 2005 and efforts are underway to create official subzone classifications similar to grand cru vineyards. Arneis is indigenous to Piedmont and one of its rising stars, especially in the district of Roero. There, it produces floral scented wines whose delicate bouquet belie its full body. Grown just across the Tanaro River from Barolo, the white Arneis wines of Roero have earned the nick name Barolo Bianco – white Barolo.
Casina Val del Prete (Valley of the Priest) is the most famous and important estate in Roero, and is named after the exiled Bishop of Asti who made it his home in 1850. In 1977 Bartlolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought this 13-hectare farm on which they had worked as sharecroppers for many years. Their son, Mario Roagna, has managed the estate since 1995. In a certain sense, his story is symbolic of a territory that has grown and asserted itself as one of winning quality. He’s a painstakingly particular farmer that is committed to biodynamic farming. Mario’s philosophy is to only grow the indigenous grape varieties of Arneis, Barbera and Nebbiolo and to let the characteristics of the terroir shine through the wine. The estate sits in a beautiful mainly south facing amphitheatre at 820 meters with the winery and cellars in the middle surrounded by hillside vineyards. The quality of Mario’s wines has been recognized many times by Gambero Rosso’s Italian Wines publication and others.
Today’s Val del Prete Roero Arneis “Luet” 2017 is the product of handpicked grapes from 20 plus year-old vines. The Luet vineyard covers 1.5 hectares and has an east/west exposure. The grapes were hand-harvested in mid-September. Alcoholic fermentation occurred spontaneously in stainless steel tanks and underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine rested on its lees for three months then was aged in stainless steel for another four months. It was then bottled with minimal added sulphur and aged three months before release. This Arneis is pale gold in colour with slight green hints and has heady aromatics of white flowers, ripe apples and apricots, and chamomile. It is rich, ripe and splendidly seductive with lush fruit and a full mouth feel. On the palate it is dry, full bodied and has an almost creamy feel with fruit and citrus flavours, notes of honey and almond balanced by a crisp, refreshing acidity and a medium long finish. Serve at 10˚ in white wine glasses and enjoy with creamy pastas, Crab Imperial, lobster, Caesar salad, soft cheeses, veal, carpaccio or broiled oysters. It just doesn’t get any better!