Italian grape varieties have become quite the thing in Australia in recent years and they are producing some great wines like this one from our friends at First Drop winery. It's made from Italian grape variety, Arneis, more usually seen in Roero Arneis DOC from the Piedmont region of Italy. It used to be used more frequently in blends e.g. in Barolo to soften black grape, Nebbiolo, but is increasingly being seen as a varietal. Grown on the right soils - preferably chalky and sandy like the vineyards north of Adelaide where the grapes for this wine were grown - the grapes can develop into wines with great acidity, structure and perfume.
Quite pale in colour with a slight green tinge, this wine displays aromas of fresh apples, pears and lime cordial with hints of almond. What strikes you first on the palate is the crisp acidity - this really is a very refreshing wine. The almonds are more evident on the palate together with the apples, pear skin, limes and a hint of white pepper and honey. This wine is really well made; the grapes are carefully handled and the wine is not shown any oak in order to retain the primary fruit flavours. The result - a quite complex wine with a long and refreshing finish.
Makes a lovely refreshing aperitif and works well with a wide range of food (except creamy sauces) - try especially with fish and seafood such as scallops, crab, lobster and squid.
"This is the ultimate summer cleanser. Forget your G&T, this Arneis from the cool climbs of the Adelaide Hills will quench and refresh. Citrus and lime zest with a hint of nashi pear and minerality. But this wine isn't just an aperitivo tease. Its purity of fruit, zippy persistence, and finely textured finish make it the 'perfect match' for a feast of dishes. From fresh scallops with ginger and shallots to chilli crabs; from salt n pepper squid to agnolotti al plin. You'll love it.. we love it!"
N.B. Nashi pear is also known as Asian or Chinese Pear; it is apple-shaped and flavours are similar to the European pear
16.5 points Jancis Robinson Oct 2015
"Intense and inviting nutty, chalky, almondy pear aromas. On the palate there’s pear too, both in flavour and texture, and although there is plenty of zesty citrus and pear fruit, the texture and the finish have a definite grip and minerality. First Drop’s own notes describe this as ‘pithy’ and that is spot on. Stony, almost salty aftertaste. Refreshing, moreish and sustained."
90 points James Halliday Oct 2016
"Machine-harvested from a single vineyard at Kersbrook, crushed and destemmed, tank-fermented with cultured yeast, 3 months on lees. Has the mouli-mix of citrus skin, pith and juice, the attendant acidity exactly as expected."