Summer of Arneis on #WinePW

June’s #WinePW brings another pairing challenge. You will recall last month’s challenge, “Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with #WinePW,” came from Christy Majors, “Confessions of a Culinary Diva,” where she challenged us to pair wine with our favorite Cinco de Mayo dishes. This month we move from south of the border to Northern Italy where Valerie Quintanilla, Girls Gotta Drink, has challenged us to pair summer dishes with “liquid Piedmont gold” known as Arneis.

June WinePW Ceretto Langhe Arneis

June WinePW Ceretto - Arneis grapeArneis: Arneis is a white grape variety grown in the famed Piedmonte region of northern Italy. This grape was on the verge of extinction when it was resurrected by a group of renegade wine makers in the 1980’s. This wine has become synonymous with the Roero region, a small DOC in hills of Piedmonte, Characteristics of this grape include: floral notes, apples, pears and apricots, nutty characteristics, low acidity, crisp and clean. This wine makes a great summertime appertif and also pairs well with light summer dishes such as seafood, poultry and ham along with creamy pasta sauces. The name “Arneis” means “little rascal” because it has a reputation for being difficult to grow, is susceptible to powdery mildew and can be struggle to achieve useful levels of acidity in warmer growing seasons. It’s traditionally low acidity encourages consumption at youth; however, some vintages of higher acidity age well.

June WinePW Ceretto ArneisCeretto Langhe DOC Arneis Blangè 2013: This wine poured a dazzling soft gold into the glass and opened with fresh aromas of orchard fruit and fresh cut herbs, with white floral and mineral notes. On the palate this 100% Arneis delivered crisp and clean flavors of apples and pears with white peaches, floral notes and marzipan laying on a back bone of minerality. This wine had a slight effervescence that danced on the palate with round acidity and a clean finish. (2013 was a cooler growing season thus producing Aneis with higher acidity.) A perfect wine for spring and summer! This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks for six months before bottling. Average SRP $20 on Wine-searcher or $20.99 on

June WinePW Ceretto Arneis bubbles

From the Ceretto web site: The White side of Piedmont wines 10% of all the bottles of Arneis produced in Piedmont are Blangè. One falls in love with Blangè, like with a beautiful woman, forever young. The Arneis, among the first ventures undertaken by the Bruno and Marcello Ceretto, has just celebrated its 26th birthday. It was 1985: a time at which it was difficult to envision a white wine in a land of great reds. For Ceretto, however, it was a challenge. And so, the first vineyard was purchased on the hillsides of Vezza d’Alba, where this rare, autochtonous grape variety indeed proved to be much more than just a new addition to the Ceretto collection. This famous white, fruity with a bit of effervescence, is appreciated worldwide, its curious French-inspired name evoking an idea of elegance. The name Blangé is derived from the word “boulanger,” or baker, from the French residing in the nearby village of Cherasco long ago. E voilà, pure and simple, beginning from its bold label, created by Milanese designer Silvio Coppola, designed to reveal, as through a seductive slit, the intense soul of Blangè.

June WinePW Ceretto vineyards

The recommended food pairing with the Ceretto Langhe DOC Arneis Blangè 2013 is a traditional dish from Piedmonte called Vitello Tonnato. This dish is crafted of cold slices of veal topped with a creamy tuna sauce. I was served this dish for lunch at Santa Sofia winery in Valpolicella. This dish is excellent! I had no idea what I was eating but I loved it. I wish I had time to prepare this dish to pair with this lovely wine but instead I chose an easier non-traditional summer food pairing.

June WinePW dinner prep

I chose a two course dinner to pair with the Arneis. Our primi course consisted of a delicious and fresh Gazpacho soup that I made the day before so all the flavors would marry overnight. I topped the soup with fresh boiled shrimp, avocado and cilantro. The soup was delicious and a wonderful pairing with the fresh and clean Arneis. For our secondo course I made a pecan crusted mahi mahi; I bought a bag of fresh pecans, chopped them till very fine, gave the fish an egg bath then coated the fish in the chopped pecans, browned the fish on the stove in a cast iron skillet, then baked them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes in the cast iron pan. I served the fish alongside whole wheat orzo pasta served room temperature with fresh basil pesto and roasted and cooled tomatoes, diced zucchini, garlic, and topped with Italian parsley and crumbled herbed goat cheese. Unlike my fellow #WinePW bloggers, I am not as professional about my food. I either use someone else’s recipe and provide the link; or I make up my own recipe and don’t measure a thing. Sorry. I do; however, try to include all the ingredients and the steps I took to craft the dish if you’d like to duplicate. The meal was fresh, easy and delicious and paired beautifully with the lovely Italian Arneis!

June WinePW Gaspacho

June WinePW fish

From the Ceretto web site: The Ceretto family is one of the largest vineyard proprietors in Piedmont with more than 160 hectares of estate-owned vineyards, located primarily in the Langhe and Roero region, including in the prestigious DOCG areas of Barolo and Barbaresco.

June WinePW Ceretto winery

The Ceretto name is synonymous with estate-grown, carefully produced wines that express true varietal character with purity and elegance.

For those, like us, who have always worked closely with the land, respecting the seasons and particular characteristics of the soil, these are fundamental values that accompany us in everyday life. For a vintner, the soil is his or her greatest companion, to be taken care of, attended to, protected and respected.

June WinePW Ceretto winery2

Wine and the culture that surrounds it are, for us, inseparable from the more general concept of “food culture.” Convinced that enological research and the pleasure of a good bottle of wine are above-all a question of culture (and that the more informed wine-drinkers are, the more they will be able to appreciate the study, effort and passion that lie behind a great wine), the Ceretto family has been the driving force behind ventures benefiting architecture, music, and art in general, just as the ‘patrons’ of days gone by.

When Ceretto purchased 6 hectares of vineyard in 1976 in Brunate, one of Barolo’s three most important and best-known crus, they also acquired a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. So they commissioned artists David Tremlett and Sol LeWitt to renovate the chapel. Here is the chapel today:

 June WinePW Ceretto chapel

“When Ceretto asked me what he should do with the chapel,” says David Tremlett, “I proposed creating something to attract people, somewhere to spend a pleasant day: a place to sit, drink a glass of wine, read a book, talk – maybe pray, too”

This was a challenge I welcome any day. The Ceretto Langhe DOC Arneis Blangè 2013 was a wonderful wine that was thoroughly enjoyed; I will certainly buy it again! I highly recommend you add this pleasing grape to your repertoire this summer. Furthermore, here are some additional food recommendations to pair with the Arneis by my fellow #WinePW bloggers:

We’ll be talking about Arneis and summer wine pairings later today during our Twitter chat at 11:00 ET by following the hashtag #WinePW.

Wine Pairing Weekend July: Join us next month!

In July Americans celebrate Independence Day and the French celebrate Bastille Day. July’s Wine Pairing Weekend will take place on Saturday, July 11, led by Michelle Williams of Rockin Red Blog. The group will explore food and wine pairings from the United States and France. From Michelle, Get creative and make your favorite all American food and wine meal, your favorite all French food and wine meal, one of each or a combination of both! With these two regions the sky is the limit!

My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the Ceretto Langhe DOC Arneis Blangè 2013 is Electric Love by BØRNS. This fresh new song has its own unique sound. It is light and airy, pleasing and crisp just like the Arneis.

Get your own bottle of Arneis wine from Piedmonte and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!

25 responses to “Summer of Arneis on #WinePW”

  1. I agree that Arneis makes a great summertime appertif. Although we enjoyed it with the meal, I think I’d enjoy it even more as an appertif. That chapel is very unique. So vibrant in the midst of the vineyards. I have never heard the song before, but get exactly why you chose it.

  2. I am so making this entire menu. OMG, sounds amazing!

    Thanks for participating. Can’t wait for next month! I’m sort of obsessed with France. I already know what I’m going to make…


  3. Gazpacho, yum! Ceretto Arneis was a popular choice.
    I’ve passed the chapel many times but never entered it. I’m curious, now.
    I like the idea of pairing music with wine!

  4. I must tell you Michelle, I’m so impressed with your blog. It sometimes amazes me how you’ll cook complete meals to pair with a wine. Great blog post. Wishing you continued success!

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